LAPD will keep testing BolaWrap, a device meant to immobilize suspects from a distance
Los Angeles police will continue testing a tether restraint designed to help immobilize suspects from a distance — known as the BolaWrap — after an initial six-month pilot program produced too little data to gauge the tool’s overall effectiveness.
At the department’s request, the Police Commission unanimously granted a 180-day extension to the program during its meeting Tuesday morning.
Since the initial 180-day pilot began in February, LAPD officers have used the BolaWrap a total of nine times. It was deemed “effective” in six instances.
According to an LAPD report on those incidents provided to the commission, successful deployments helped take various suspects into custody, including a naked man running through traffic, a suspect wielding a pipe, a suspect with a knife, and an arson suspect.
The devices were ineffective in one incident in which a suspect was up against a fence, in another where a suspect wore a very a large, bulky coat, and another in which the officer who fired the tether missed the suspect, the report said.
Deputy Chief Martin Baeza told the commission that the department hoped to gather data from more deployments in the coming months to help determine whether to keep using the BolaWrap. He said the devices were meant to assist officers in bringing potentially dangerous situations to an end without using more deadly force, and that he remained optimistic they could serve that purpose.
Baeza said the LAPD was also working with the manufacturer of the BolaWrap, which provided 200 devices for testing, to see if improvements might be made to make the devices more effective.
Commissioner Dale Bonner asked Baeza to assess the findings of other police departments that may be testing the devices and report those back to the commission as well.
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