These are a good idea. You don’t need to hurt people to maintain law and order.
Excerpts from the Article:
Pepper spray, an expandable steel baton and a Taser.
Those are the nonlethal options that a typical Delaware police officer will have on his or her belt when responding to someone who is resisting arrest.
But all those options cause pain. That’s why the Dewey Beach Police Department is trying an alternative.
Dewey Beach police will be one of the first agencies in the state to use BolaWrap. Promoted as “remote handcuffs,” this tool acts almost like a lasso by shooting out Kevlar ropes that wrap around the subject’s arms or legs. Two small hooks on the end of the cords grab the person’s clothing or latch onto the cord to fully wrap and restrain the person.
In a resort town that sees its fair share of intoxicated and disorderly people in the summer, Dewey Beach police officers frequently deploy stun guns. BolaWrap gives officers another option to arrest someone without pain, said Sgt. Cliff Dempsey, spokesperson for the Dewey Beach Police Department.
“If it works, this could be revolutionary to Dewey,” Dempsey said.
Dewey Beach Police Chief Sam Mackert said he participated in a demonstration of BolaWrap and he “felt no pain at all when it wrapped me up.”
The town commissioners and mayor voted unanimously on Friday to use up to $15,000 to cover the cost of the devices, cartridges and training for officers.
This money comes from the 2019 sale of more than 2,000 military surplus items that the town received through the Law Enforcement Support Office, or LESO Program. Mayor Dale Cooke said the town made a commitment to use the funds from that auction solely for the Police Department.
Town Manager Bill Zolper said the cost for 10 devices and all the related equipment and training will be about $12,000. While he said that may sound like a lot, the effort will be worth it to show that the town and its Police Department are moving away from using pain for compliance.
“When you look at what’s happening to towns and cities across the country with the current (use-of-force) lawsuits, I think it’s very little to spend to try to bring a product to our folks, that if they use it once a year, it’s going to be worth it,” he said.
This decision comes at a time when police agencies in Delaware and nationwide have been reevaluating use-of-force policies and the weapons they use for compliance.
Studies, like one published in the National Institute of Justice Journal in 2010, show that less-lethal weapons like pepper spray and stun guns can reduce injuries to both the suspect and the officer.
At one point, many police departments opted to use stun guns instead of pepper spray, said Jamie Leonard, president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police. Now, these agencies are bringing back pepper spray in addition to stun guns – a trend that lines up with this effort to give officers more non-lethal options.
“There’s no one that signs up to take this job that wants to have to be engaged in a deadly force situation. I can assure you that,” Leonard said. “If there’s an opportunity where we can mitigate that possibility, then we’re going to take it.”