The Los Angeles Police Department will begin testing a device designed to snare a person from a distance, giving officers an alternative to firing a Taser or a gun, CBS Los Angeles reports. The device, known as the BolaWrap 100, fires a Kevlar cord that wraps around a person’s torso and legs from up to 25 feet away.
Manufactured by Las Vegas-based Wrap Technologies, the handheld device emits a gunshot-type noise when it deploys the tether, which has barbs attached that can create a “very small puncture” when the tether wraps around a person, according to Wrap COO and retired assistant L.A. County Sheriff Mike Rothans.
Frequent LAPD critics who attend Police Commission meetings criticized the tool, including Black Lives Matter member Adam Smith, who argued the department would probably deploy the device mostly in minority communities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Deputies with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office are among those who have recently adopted the technology, which many on social media have likened to a tether-type tool used by the the fictional comic book hero Batman.
In October, the cord failed to wrap around a man’s legs in Fresno when an officer deployed the device. Police spokesman Lieutenant Mark Hudson told The Times it was still successful because it distracted the man, who was then shocked with a stun gun.
Videos of the device being used largely show a subject standing still, with his or her legs together and arms down as the cord wraps around their legs and torso. In several clips, the subject was slowly walking away or fell over as the cord wrapped around his or her legs.
The device will be distributed to 200 LAPD officers once they are trained starting in January.