INDIANAPOLIS – It was just before noon. 2 on October 24thth when IMPD officers responded to a report of a man behaving erratically on the corner of Lambert and Kappes streets.
The man waved his arms, moaned and growled, crouched and got up abruptly, alternately lying on the street calling for help while ignoring the officer’s order to calm down.
An officer told his partners he had a Bolawrap and shouted, “Bola! Bola! Bola!” before firing the device, the man wraps himself in a spinner-like web and immobilizes him long enough for officers and paramedics to move in, strap him to a stretcher, and deliver him to Eskenazi Hospital for treatment.
“Bolawrap allows us to limit a person’s mobility either by their arms or their legs or both from a safe distance of between ten and twenty feet, so that we can then close that distance with their limited mobility when they have less opportunity to either run or kick or hit, and we can take them into custody with much less combat, “said Patrolman Damon Young, Lead De-Escalation Instructor at the IMPD Training Academy.” If we restrict anyone’s ability to move, regardless whether it’s moving their arms to hit the officer or using their legs in a kicking manner or establishing a better balance, then our officers are less likely to be hit. “
In 2021, IMPD officers have fired their weapons in twelve incidents that have led to three deaths, each time indicating that the person was aiming a gun in their path.
Bolawrap is intended for rolling out in less unstable situations.
“From the two deployments that we have, the officers are grateful that they have that opportunity, and they noted that it was significantly better and safer for them,” Young said.
Currently, 20 SWAT and field training officers and officers treated to respond to mental health issues have been trained at Bolawrap in what is an open pilot program.
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