EDENTON, N.C. - The Edenton Police Department has become the first in North Carolina to carry a new device.
The BolaWrap is the same size as a calculator, but according to its creators, it can help police gain control in a dangerous situation.
Inside the BolaWrap is an eight-foot kevlar tether with hooks on either side. When the device is deployed, the tether shoots out and wraps itself around a target.
If deployed correctly, it can de-escalate a situation between police and a dangerous offender.
During a demonstration at The College of the Albemarle on Friday morning, representatives from Wrap Technologies Inc. showed police officers from all over the state how the device can be used.
Through videos, they walked officers through situations where the BolaWrap could have been used instead of deadly force. They say the device can be helpful when dealing with someone who has a mental illness.
Instead of Tasing or shooting a person who is not listening to officers, the device is able to stop an offender from advancing towards police, giving them valuable seconds to react.
After learning about the device, officers were allowed to test it on a mannequin and on themselves.
The sound of the device is startling: It sounds just like a gun, but there is hardly any pain from the hit. Representatives say it's possible that someone could get hurt if they were hit with the device where they didn't have clothes on, but they say it's better than any of the other alternatives like a Taser or a gun.
"It is an opportunity for us to have something in our tool belt," explained Edenton Police Chief Henry King, who hosted the presentation. "When you’re going to fix a house, you want to have more than just a hammer. This gives us an extra tool to take someone into custody without using a different, higher level of force."
Once his officers go through training, the BolaWraps will be in the hands of officers and on the street. While his officers will be ready to use the device when necessary, King hopes they won't have to use them at all.
"These are tools, but in law enforcement we wouldn’t need all these tools if citizens would just think about these four C's. Be courteous, cooperate, comply and then, if you think you’ve been wronged, then complain," Chief King explained. "I’m not trying to put BolaWrap, Tasers or any company out of business, but just think about the kind of world and society if people would utilize those four C's when it comes to law enforcement."