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Alcoa Police Department buys BolaWrap devices to help with de-escalation practices

Over 500 agencies are using the tool nationwide.
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Alcoa Police Department has been researching de-escalation practices for its officers for some time now. This week, the department started issuing devices called the BolaWrap 100 to help with this.

“Up to this point, everything we’ve got at our disposal relies on some kind of pain compliance,” Alcoa Police Chief, David Carswell, said.

The device is about the size of a smartphone and can shoot a kevlar cord about 10 to 20 feet. When used, it’ll wrap around a person’s arms or legs.

“It’s about the same speed as a hard-pitched baseball,” Carswell said.

This means it’ll shoot out the kevlar cord around 90-95 mph. I tested it out and found it doesn’t hurt but the cord makes it hard to move once around your legs.

“This can quickly de-escalate a situation by safely taking people into custody that need to be taken into custody without causing injury,” Carswell said.

Carswell said this will likely be used on non-violent suspects. If an officer is unable to get close enough to put handcuffs on someone, the BolaWrap can be used to slow them down.

“Were not going to put 100% of our faith that this is going to work but it is a tool that we now have that we didn’t have, in the hopes that it is going to work and that it is going to de-escalate a situation,” Carswell said.

Each Alcoa officer will receive one device and have two charges on them at all times.

According to the BolaWrap website, over 500 agencies are using this nationwide.

At this time, the Knoxville Police Department is not considering them.

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