Tempe company producing device to restrain suspects from distance

Jun 16, 2021, 4:55 AM | Updated: 8:01 am

PHOENIX — A growing number of law enforcement departments are deploying a remote apprehension tool produced by a Tempe company that discharges a cord to restrain uncooperative suspects.

Similar to handcuffs, the nonlethal device called BolaWrap is designed to restrict the movement of a suspect’s legs or arms but does not intend to inflict pain, according to the official website.

Wrap Technologies produces the product, which is classified as a less-lethal weapon and generally perceived by law enforcement as low on the Use of Force Continuum.

I decided to volunteer and try it out.

The gun produces a loud bang, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

The device shot a 7 foot Kevlar cord — at 500 feet per second — that hooked around my calves. It didn’t hurt, but running wasn’t an option.

“We turn those people in crisis, whether it’s from alcohol, drugs or mental illness,” Tom Smith, president and CEO of Wrap Technologies, said.  “You want to help them but you don’t want to hurt them, and this is the only tool that allows police to do that safely and effectively.”

Smith says the element of surprise gives police just enough time to grab the suspect, cut their cords and take them into custody.

This body camera video shows Tempe police using the product on May 28.

The Tempe Police Department is one of more than 500 agencies carrying BolaWrap devices in the country.

“With a Taser or a chemical spray, you’re putting something into the body that causes pain and relies on pain compliance to end that confrontation,” Smith said. “You’re looking for that person to really submit.

“In this case, we’re just trying to restrain them remotely — almost like Spider-Man or Batman — and get them the help that they need.”

More departments are turning to BolaWrap following last summer’s in-custody deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Dion Johnson in Phoenix.

“There’s never been more pressure on law enforcement to change the way they’re doing business,” Smith said. “The communities are demanding it, and police are demanding it.”

The BolaWrap allows suspects to keep their balance — especially if their hands are not caught in the cord.

Video report by KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Matt Bertram.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

(KTAR News Photo) (KTAR News Photo) (KTAR News Photo) (KTAR News Photo) (KTAR News Photo)

Arizona News


Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Dec. 1-3

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news over the weekend, including weather impacts across the state and more.

5 hours ago

Phoenix police...

3 arrested for brutal murder near North Mountain in Phoenix

The Phoenix Police Department made three arrests on Saturday for a murder which happened on Nov. 26 near 7th Avenue and Cinnabar Avenue.

8 hours ago

Renovations of Wildflower Tempe ahead of its grand reopening. (Adler Public Relations photo)...

Tom Kuebel

Wildflower debuts renovations for grand reopening in Tempe

The Wildflower restaurant hosted its grand reopening after making several renovations to its location in Tempe.

11 hours ago

(KTAR News/Peter Samore)...

Casa Grande man sentenced for smuggling meth through San Luis Port of Entry

A man from Casa Grande was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to smuggle more than 30 pounds of meth through the San Luis Port of Entry.

13 hours ago

Emma Stone receives a 5-timers robe from SNL veterans Tina Fey and Candice Bergen. (YouTube screens...

Arizona-native Emma Stone hosts SNL for 5th time, joining exclusive club

Arizona native Emma Stone was joined by Tina Fey and Candice Bergen who welcomed her to the illustrious five-timers club for hosting Saturday Night Live.

15 hours ago

Fountain Hills native Nicholas Hambruch was announced as lead for the new "Shrek the Musical" comin...

David Veenstra

Valley native cast as lead of new touring version of ‘Shrek’ musical

An all-new version of "Shrek the Musical" with Fountain Hills native Nicholas Hambruch starring as Shrek is coming to Phoenix in March.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.

Tempe company producing device to restrain suspects from distance