MIAMI – Coconut Creek police are testing new equipment to limit the use of force and defuse conflicts.
It’s called BolaWrap. A remote control device that operates a wire to restrain individuals.
“You have officers that want to do things differently than they’ve always done them,” said Coconut Creek Mayor Josh Rydell. “You have a tool that will allow them to do it differently.”
Rydell suggested a demonstration as a test subject for the device. His family and police personnel watch from a safe distance as Training Officer Michael Giuttari prepares to activate the device.
“Instead of us physically engaging and physically restraining them, we enforce it,” Giutari said. “It will wrap them up, disorient them, hopefully they won’t know what happened.”
He traces his target area with the BolaWrap’s laser. In this case, it’s the mayor’s feet, then he warns.
“Bola, bola, bola!” He shouts to Bol, as he would in the field, to inform his fellow soldiers that he is about to deploy the device. When he does, it makes a loud noise like he fired a gun.
“The more you struggle or try to move, the deeper the hooks dig in,” Gutari explained as the cord wrapped around Rydel.
A 2020 study released by the Bureau of Justice in November 2020 found that 46% of US residents who are involved in police-initiated or contact traffic accidents view police threats or use of force as excessive. City leaders say Bolawrap improves efforts to de-escalate certain situations before they become physically combative.
“Nationally, you see the videos that go viral and you see these horrible things,” Rydell added. “It’s important to emphasize when law enforcement has the right tools, so those viral videos never happen in your backyard.”
CBS4’s Joe Gorchow also stopped by to see just how much pain relief.
“Oh my god, the sound was so much worse than the wrap,” Gorchov described. “I have ringing in my left ear.”
“We need the ability to control the situation,” explained Gyutarin Gorchov. “If we can achieve this with minimal force or injury to the parties involved, that’s the goal.”
The Coconut Creek pilot BolaWrap program has been running since October. However, it has yet to be used in the field. No Tasers were used during that same period.
Coconut Creek police say they have eight bulletproof vests in circulation. Each of the four patrol teams in the pilot program was given a binary. They say law enforcement funds, not taxpayer dollars, were used to add this equipment to the police force.