Wake County considers using non-lethal tether to catch suspects

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is looking into new, non-lethal detaining ideas to keep people safe.

Wake County is one of several agencies considering trading tasers for the “bola wrap.”

Over the past year, the bola wrap has been deployed by more than 100 agencies across 33 states.

While the bola wrap looks like a lasso, questions remain about its effectiveness.

“Everything comes down to training,” said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker.

Like many departments, Wake County has been looking for a non-lethal method to detain suspects since they removed tasers in June due to concerns of excessive force.

“We want to make sure whatever tools we bring in to use,” said Baker. “We’re thinking about the safety of the suspect as well as the officers.”

“If somebody is in a mental health crisis, our impulse is if they have a sharp object, what do you confront them with?” said Donald de Lucca.

Retired police chief Donald de Lucca believes he has solved that problem with the bola wrap device.

“The bola wrap is a remote restraint,” said de Lucca. “It’s something that you would use sooner in an incident involving somebody who isn’t being compliant.”

As Baker experienced first hand, it’s the same concept as a lasso.

“You don’t actually feel being wrapped,” said Baker. “You feel the prongs once they grab hold of you.”

However, the device comes with obvious questions.

“Do you feel like you could’ve broken out of it?” asked CBS 17 reporter Holden Kurwicki.

“I didn’t think about it, and I didn’t try,” said Baker.

“Over time somebody could probably get loose from it just like any other tool,” said de Lucca.

While it’s cheaper than a taser, the question now is if it’s worth it.

“We have to do our job better,” said de Lucca. “If there is a tool out there law enforcement is expected to look at it.”

“We’re going to review it very good, and see if it’s something we could use,” said Baker.

At this time the Wake County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t committed to buying the bola wrap, but plans to revisit the device once they get a clear picture of their 2020 budget.

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