VB police testing new handheld restraint device that can stop a person from 25 feet away

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police are looking into new technology to apprehend suspects in a safer way.

Concern has been rising across the country about people dying in police custody.

The new device, called the BolaWrap, can restrain a suspect from as far as 25 feet away. It’s considered to be a more humane way of taking down a suspect without using deadly force.

Scenes in which people resist arrest play out almost daily across the country; police confronting suspects and suspects not cooperating. It’s a confrontation that can turn deadly.

“If you look historically at issues between the community and the police, what does it always come down to? It’s a use of force and whether or not the use of force is justified,” said Tom Streicher, with Wrap Technologies Inc.

On Tuesday at the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy, the police department watched a demonstration from Wrap Technologies on how to de-escalate police encounters and increase the safety of both their officers and suspects.

“There is no pain at all involved with it and that’s the beauty of this,” Streicher said. “Communities are realizing that there is an alternative, a very effective alternative, for police agencies to engage people who need assistance. And it can be done without resorting in some type of violence or resorting to some type of pain compliance.”

The BolaWrap restraining device works best between a distance of 10 to 25 feet and shoots out an 8-foot Kevlar cord that wraps around the suspect, giving police time to safely put the person into custody.

“We are cautiously optimistic. We want to look at it. We want our training staff to evaluate with our patrol officers to determine if it is appropriate for us to use,” said Lt. Scott Wichtendahl with Virginia Beach police.

At a cost of nearly $1,000 apiece, Virginia Beach police need to see if this device is cost effective.

The officers that watched the demonstration Tuesday were impressed by the device, however, they said more research and hands-on training is needed before they purchase the device.

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