Police testing taser alternative that wraps suspects up in a tether, Spider-Man-style

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Reuters reports that another 49 people died last year after being shocked by tasers, leading to more calls for a better alternative. In many cases, the tasers were used alongside hand strikes, pepper sprays, restraint holds, and other forces.

The BolaWrap, manufactured by Wrap Industries, is slightly larger than a cell phone and easily fits into a police officer’s belt. Powered by a .380 partial charge blank, it fires an eight-foot tether at 640 feet per second, wrapping up a suspect’s legs/body and preventing them from escaping. The device has an effective range of 10 to 25 feet and is described as not “pain compliant,” as in it does not require pain to achieve compliance from suspects. There are barbed entangling pellets on each end of the tether, so the only risk of injury could come from these piercing the skin, or from people falling over.

“Whether it is a Taser, pepper spray, baton [...] there’s been this gap created by the courts requiring that a higher level of force be used at the appropriate time,” said Tom Smith, president of Wrap Industries.

“This tool fits perfectly into that gap giving the officers another option to use before having to use that high level of force to end that conversation very early, very safely,” he added.

Police Chief Carlos Islas, from the city of Bell, California, tried the device out on himself. “I mean there was no pain,” he said.

The BolaWrap has already been tested by dozens of police departments in the US, as well as some in Australia and New Zealand.

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Hardware Geek

TS Addict
Unfortunately I don't see this being widely used even if it were given to every officer in the US. The bar for use of deadly force is "I feared for my life.". Even in cases where that it clearly an excuse and less lethal options were available, that excuse gets the vast majority of officers off the hook. Why would they wouldn't use less than lethal options first is beyond me, which is why I don't think this will be used instead of a gun by police.
 
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Unfortunately I don't see this being widely used even if it were given to every officer in the US. The bar for use of deadly force is "I feared for my life.". Even in cases where that it clearly an excuse and less lethal options were available, that excuse gets the vast majority of officers off the hook. Why would they wouldn't use less than lethal options first is beyond me, which is why I don't think this will be used instead of a gun by police.

Imagine that all cops were given phasers set to stun- like on Star Trek -and that they couldn't kill suspects.
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
Seems like a decent first effort in getting a perp to cooperate. Unfortunately life or death situations can change in less than a second, so asking an officer to risk his or her life by first starting with this, then moving up to a taser if the wrap didn't work, then to a firearm is unreasonable. It's too bad someone can't manufacture a firearm that has all three options with one trigger, and the first two "shots" are the wrap then the taser, before firing bullets. While I think that is technically possible the device would likely be large and bulky - but could be more easily implemented in a shouldered weapon like a PDW, submachinegun, or rifle type platform.

The wrap may well get the perp on the ground but it likely won't prevent them from getting to or using a weapon if they have one, particularly a firearm. A taser, assuming you hit the target will completely but temporarily immobilize the perp to the point that even if they have a firearm they won't be able to get to it - and as long as the officer can get the weapon away from the perp before the tase stops (five seconds) then all should be well. A taser is a better less lethal option if the perp is armed with some sort of weapon.

Anyway, it's a sad world we live in where we even have to think about this sort of thing. The amount of violent people and drug-crazed loonies running around in the US is a huge problem, much more so than other first world developed nations. Why do we suppose that is?
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Its all fun and games until someone aims for the neck or face. Or the suspect's legs aren't planted right next to one another. Or the suspect doesn't have their arms at their sides.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
The problem with less-than-lethal force is that it’s more likely to be used.

Especially by these modern day fascists who either don’t know the law or feel you’re out of place to verbally argue with them when they are clearly in the wrong.
Who's right and who's wrong is always a very subjective thing. In fact, it's why we have these things called "courts".

Judging by the bulk of your posting, I would expect you believe that you're unquestionably always right.

That may not always be the case, and a bit of introspection once in awhile, might enhance your character.

But I'll tell you what, the next time the police stop you, tell them all about your "AR-`15". See if that starts an argument where you're right, and they're wrong..
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Seems like a decent first effort in getting a perp to cooperate.
????
Perp, really?

So, a suspect is now a perp before having had their time in court? :facepalm:

Its that kind of attitude along with the fact that pretty much all any police officer needs to do in court these days, especially in the US, to justify killing someone is say "I feared for my life" that makes lethal force a completely untenable option.

I mean WTF? Let's just tell cops in training, "shoot first, ask questions later, and then tell the court you feared for your life." Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it when the cop becomes judge, jury, and executioner, right?

But, what the hell, everyone is riff-raff according to some...

As to your comment about using a weapon while entangled in one of these - it takes a free arm and a free hand to use a weapon. Note the word - free. If their limbs are wrapped up in one of these things, they will not have free limbs to use a weapon, and even if they do have a free limb, chances are they will not have the tactical advantage due to one or more limbs being entangled in this.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
????
Perp, really?

So, a suspect is now a perp before having had their time in court? :facepalm:

Its that kind of attitude along with the fact that pretty much all any police officer needs to do in court these days, especially in the US, to justify killing someone is say "I feared for my life" that makes lethal force a completely untenable option.

I mean WTF? Let's just tell cops in training, "shoot first, ask questions later, and then tell the court you feared for your life." Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it when the cop becomes judge, jury, and executioner, right?

But, what the hell, everyone is riff-raff according to some...

As to your comment about using a weapon while entangled in one of these - it takes a free arm and a free hand to use a weapon. Note the word - free. If their limbs are wrapped up in one of these things, they will not have free limbs to use a weapon, and even if they do have a free limb, chances are they will not have the tactical advantage due to one or more limbs being entangled in this.
Sorry, this is all well and good, but recently we had a police incident in North Philly, where 6 police officers were shot, yet the suspect was taken into custody unharmed after a 12 hour standoff.

North Philadelphia, which is predominantly black, "supported" the police, by heckling them as they were being taken off in ambulances.

I've never been harmed by anyone in law enforcement, but then again, I don't have a cell phone to reach into my pocket for, when the police tell me directly "put your hands up".

In fact, I was stopped recently for a burned out brake light bulb. I sat in the car, (the way you're supposed to", waited patiently while they ran the plates through the DMV computer.. When the officer approached the vehicle, I had my hands on the wheel, (the way you're supposed to), he told me about the brake light, but didn't issue a summons. I thanked him heartily for not giving me a ticket, but more so because becsause I was on my way to have the car inspected. So, a brief stop back at my house, a replaced 1157 bulb, and viola, and an hour later I had fresh stickers on the car.(y) (Y)
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
Police Chief Carlos Islas, from the city of Bell, California, tried the device out on himself. “I mean there was no pain,” he said.

ROFLMAO!!!! The first two words in that quote says it all. "I mean..." What a complete joke.
Police departments already have guns and gadgets, so why would they consider this again?

Additionally, if you keep adding things to a cops belt, they'll need to be robots in the future just to carry it all. Steam Machines make more sense than this web shooter, and Steam Machines don't make any sense whatsoever!
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
????
Perp, really?

So, a suspect is now a perp before having had their time in court? :facepalm:

Its that kind of attitude along with the fact that pretty much all any police officer needs to do in court these days, especially in the US, to justify killing someone is say "I feared for my life" that makes lethal force a completely untenable option.

I mean WTF? Let's just tell cops in training, "shoot first, ask questions later, and then tell the court you feared for your life." Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it when the cop becomes judge, jury, and executioner, right?

But, what the hell, everyone is riff-raff according to some...

As to your comment about using a weapon while entangled in one of these - it takes a free arm and a free hand to use a weapon. Note the word - free. If their limbs are wrapped up in one of these things, they will not have free limbs to use a weapon, and even if they do have a free limb, chances are they will not have the tactical advantage due to one or more limbs being entangled in this.
Do you know what perpetrator means? Why do you feel this is an unreasonable word?

A police officer dealing with an irate individual who has already broken a law is typically when they need to consider using a weapon which may save their life - because the officer doesn't know what the person is going to do. Whether that weapon is lethal or not is up to the officer and depends on the situation.

Also this wrap weapon is intended for the legs though, so a perp would likely still be able to get to a weapon in their pocket if they don't already have it in their hand. Realistically though if the officer knows the perp has a weapon, particularly a firearm the officer will already have his/her firearm at the ready. I think this is really more meant for a runner. You have a perp who is running from the cops, a firearm is absolutely unnecessary, a taser may or may not reach them, but the wrap can likely bring the runner to a halt.

Unfortunately in a lot of situations the officer won't know or can't see what the perp is doing or if they have a weapon and what kind, so the officer will go to their most lethal option in case that is where the perp starts. You just don't know...

Now I'm not saying there aren't bad cops out there, there are trigger happy hot heads or just otherwise jumpy and nervous who may shoot because they are scared. I suppose that is a natural danger of having to be in these situations, but being scared is not a reason to kill. You shouldn't kill unless you know the perp is already trying to kill you - but this is such a messy mess of an area and there are so many variables involved that you never have a straight cut answer. That's where body cameras and a jury come in...let the people decide. There is no perfect answer though and probably never will be.
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
Q: How to get 10-year supply of shoe laces?
A: Make an argument with police.

Two arguments - you will look like a mummy.

And I agree with @QuantumPhysics, fascism will escalate further.

Who's right and who's wrong is always a very subjective thing. In fact, it's why we have these things called "courts".
@captaincranky - you must be joking. In movies maybe? First you end up in a detention cell, then after a quick chat with a judge they will push a bail-out form on you, from a shark-bale company, to sign, borrow the money and get f-d, 'cos now you are a financial slave, congratulations. Because this is how that entire system works, it is corrupt throughout. In the end cops and judges will benefit from the money you will be forced to borrow to get away from them.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
Notice how they DIDN'T show it working on a fleeing suspect, or running toward someone, but, someone STANDING STILL. Yeah, anyone that is in need of being tasered or shot, is just going to stand still while you do this LOL.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
@captaincranky - you must be joking. In movies maybe? First you end up in a detention cell, then after a quick chat with a judge they will push a bail-out form on you, from a shark-bale company, to sign, borrow the money and get f-d, 'cos now you are a financial slave, congratulations. Because this is how that entire system works, it is corrupt throughout. In the end cops and judges will benefit from the money you will be forced to borrow to get away from them.
The criminal justice system differs in the same way real estate values differ, by, "location, location, location". And part of that depends on whether or not you live in the area where the alleged "offense" occurs Offenders are all "not guilty", even after they've been sentenced.

At the summary offense level, we all have probably experienced "speed trap" towns. And while people like to claim they've been, "profiled", the age and sex of the "perp", their social status, and yes too, their ethnicity, make them more likely to commit certain types of crimes. From what I've seen on the news, white people commit the craziest ****, like killing 50 people at an outdoor concert, while other ethnicities are more prone to run of the mill desperation acts, like car jacking and armed robbery

In NYC, most misdemeanors are given a "desk appearance ticket", and cut loose. Now if you don't show up for your date with the magistrate, that's when the warrant is issued

But no, all that nonsense about being a "financial slave", doesn't necessarily hold true in every jurisdiction. It also depends on the individual's circumstance. I own my own hovel, am old, am less likely to commit a violent crime, am not any sort of flight risk, and therefore am a better candidate than most for "ROR" bail. But since I'm not likely to commit are serious offense, it does render my points a bit moot.

Is the system corrupt as a whole, probably. But that does not necessarily affect the outcome, on a case by case basis.

Emile Durkheim wrote a somewhat long winded essay defining the nature of crime, but in essence it stated that crime is what society makes it. That said, he also pointed out that the bar of what you make a crime is where society chooses to set it
 
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raydpratt007

TS Rookie
People who are mentally ill or who have some brain damage are the ones that I have seen who are partially or wholly immune to tasers. I am apparently one of them, though I believe that I have a reasonably high intelligence. The first time that Nevada prison guards used a taser on me was when I refused to leave a shower cell because I wanted them to open the cell door to pull me out, which would have given me an opportunity to attack two guards who had splashed me with scalding hot water. Although I was a litigious prisoner (see, e.g., Pratt vs. Sumner, 807 F.2d 817 (9th Cir. 1987), I never filed suit for the scalding hot water incident because I wanted physical revenge, not money. However, the group of guards that came to me did not include the two guards that I wanted. Nonetheless, I still refused to give up (it's bad form to come to the party and not dance), even though I had no real desire to attack the other guards. When they popped open the cell door and rushed me, they shot me with the taser, but it did absolutely nothing to me but make electrical noise. The barbs got caught up in my clothes rather than pierced my skin, so both the guards and I chalked it up to happenstance, even though the manufacturer claims that clothes will not stop a taser from being effective.

Much later, under new circumstances, I refused to cooperate with a strip search that was routinely conducted in an open area under camera supervision by guards of either sex and in view of other inmates in the nearby cells. Case law indicated that such strip searches are too humiliating to survive scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Lt. Koon, who had been transferred out of the Illinois prison system to Nevada's after he and two other guards beat a couple of inmates to death with pipes, came and threatened me with the taser gun and said, "You'll strip!" I said, "No, you'll shoot." He shot me with the taser gun, and it had some effect, so I sat down to avoid falling down, and then I pulled out one dart, then the other, and then I stood up and said, "Now what are you going to do?" He was visibly shaken that his super toy was a super dud. But, he regained his composure, turn up the setting on his taser gun (from 50,000 volts to 100,000 volts), and he shot me again. I started to do the same thing as before, but I made the mistake of grabbing one of the darts itself to try to pull it out, and I couldn't control my hand--it was stuck shaking and holding the dart. However, I pulled through the fog, grabbed the other dart by the dangling wire with my other hand, and pulled out that dart and then the other. I jumped back up and said, "Now what are you going to do?" His face was sort of at a loss. However, he reached into his right front pocket and pulled out another dart cartridge, and that pocket was full of cartridges. I was kind of tired of the 'urban rodeo,' so I complied with the search and filed a lawsuit later.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against me, but the guards stopped bringing taser guns to deal with me. They would show up with bean-bag guns after that, and I never test-drove one of those.

Two other prisoners were also resistant to the taser gun, one partially and one completely. The one who was partially resistant, like me, had been hit in the head with a hammer when he was young. The other one who was completely immune to taser guns was a deeply psychotic prisoner from Guatemala.

I had heard other similar stories about other prisoners I didn't know.

I have watched non-immune prisoners get tasered and they all fall to the ground unconscious and shake like a fish to the dance of the volts.

I suppose that this new web-throwing technology could be pretty good for stupid drunks and girls who won't cooperate, but I don't know if it is such a good idea with someone big and crazy.
 

SilverBeard

TS Rookie
The problem with less-than-lethal force is that it’s more likely to be used.

Especially by these modern day fascists who either don’t know the law or feel you’re out of place to verbally argue with them when they are clearly in the wrong.
The "Modern Day Fascists" you're referring to are just as likely to be shot simply for being in the Uniform. In what way do you risk your life each day you go to work?

Veteran and Proud!
 

SilverBeard

TS Rookie
People who are mentally ill or who have some brain damage are the ones that I have seen who are partially or wholly immune to tasers. I am apparently one of them, though I believe that I have a reasonably high intelligence. The first time that Nevada prison guards used a taser on me was when I refused to leave a shower cell because I wanted them to open the cell door to pull me out, which would have given me an opportunity to attack two guards who had splashed me with scalding hot water. Although I was a litigious prisoner (see, e.g., Pratt vs. Sumner, 807 F.2d 817 (9th Cir. 1987), I never filed suit for the scalding hot water incident because I wanted physical revenge, not money. However, the group of guards that came to me did not include the two guards that I wanted. Nonetheless, I still refused to give up (it's bad form to come to the party and not dance), even though I had no real desire to attack the other guards. When they popped open the cell door and rushed me, they shot me with the taser, but it did absolutely nothing to me but make electrical noise. The barbs got caught up in my clothes rather than pierced my skin, so both the guards and I chalked it up to happenstance, even though the manufacturer claims that clothes will not stop a taser from being effective.

Much later, under new circumstances, I refused to cooperate with a strip search that was routinely conducted in an open area under camera supervision by guards of either sex and in view of other inmates in the nearby cells. Case law indicated that such strip searches are too humiliating to survive scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Lt. Koon, who had been transferred out of the Illinois prison system to Nevada's after he and two other guards beat a couple of inmates to death with pipes, came and threatened me with the taser gun and said, "You'll strip!" I said, "No, you'll shoot." He shot me with the taser gun, and it had some effect, so I sat down to avoid falling down, and then I pulled out one dart, then the other, and then I stood up and said, "Now what are you going to do?" He was visibly shaken that his super toy was a super dud. But, he regained his composure, turn up the setting on his taser gun (from 50,000 volts to 100,000 volts), and he shot me again. I started to do the same thing as before, but I made the mistake of grabbing one of the darts itself to try to pull it out, and I couldn't control my hand--it was stuck shaking and holding the dart. However, I pulled through the fog, grabbed the other dart by the dangling wire with my other hand, and pulled out that dart and then the other. I jumped back up and said, "Now what are you going to do?" His face was sort of at a loss. However, he reached into his right front pocket and pulled out another dart cartridge, and that pocket was full of cartridges. I was kind of tired of the 'urban rodeo,' so I complied with the search and filed a lawsuit later.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against me, but the guards stopped bringing taser guns to deal with me. They would show up with bean-bag guns after that, and I never test-drove one of those.

Two other prisoners were also resistant to the taser gun, one partially and one completely. The one who was partially resistant, like me, had been hit in the head with a hammer when he was young. The other one who was completely immune to taser guns was a deeply psychotic prisoner from Guatemala.

I had heard other similar stories about other prisoners I didn't know.

I have watched non-immune prisoners get tasered and they all fall to the ground unconscious and shake like a fish to the dance of the volts.

I suppose that this new web-throwing technology could be pretty good for stupid drunks and girls who won't cooperate, but I don't know if it is such a good idea with someone big and crazy.
This tool is ideal for "big and crazy" because it only prohibits movement rather than provoking a violent reaction to being Tased. I can see the WRAP being employed mainly in situations where an Officer is being rushed or when a perp is trying to run. Hopefully this will prevent the many deaths from Tasing.

My ONLY concern is if someone is caught about the lower legs there is a chance of their head hitting the ground rather hard if they fall over, which could result in serious injuries.

Of course, being shot with a 9mm/.45 cal pistol isn't exactly appealing either. My advice...don't place yourself in a situation where your facing off with the Police but if you do, defuse the situation quickly be complying with all instructions.

Veteran and Proud!
 

That Dude There

TS Booster
I've seen videos of 5 or 6 police standing over a guy squirming, and tasered over and over and over. A couple of them couldn't be bothered with helping the one officer hold his arms down. The police never get real trouble for killing...thus encouraging killing. I'm talking about murder...not self defense.