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Lasso Device A New Police Tool In Subduing Suspects

With the press of a button, the yellow device not much bigger than a cellphone fires a swirling Kevlar cord, wrapping its intended target by the legs and torso like Spider-Man’s web — minus the goo. Its manufacturer advertises it as the next great tool to help police subdue unruly suspects with minimal harm, and soon, all the 800 or so patrol officers in the Fairfax County, Va., Police Department will have access to one, reports the Washington Post. Police Chief Kevin Davis announced that his department was buying 450 of the devices — one in each patrol vehicle, which officers sometimes share. The department will become the first big law enforcement agency in the D.C. region to have them — though Wrap Technologies, which makes the devices, said more than 1,000 police departments across the U.S. have purchased them. Pilot programs have been run in Los Angeles, Detroit and Seattle, but Fairfax will be the biggest department to put them in widespread use.

“It’s simply a restraining device,” Davis said. “I describe it as a kid watching Spider-Man shoot something out of his wrist, flies through the air and then wraps around you.” The lasso works like this: A cartridge with a 7 1/2-foot Kevlar cord with two hooked barbs tied to each end is loaded into the BolaWrap device. Police power on the device, which points a laser at the officer’s target. When an officer pushes a button, the cord is propelled out of the device using a micro-gas generator. The velocity of the barbs is such that when the cord connects with its target, it wraps around the person police are trying to subdue — as many as three times around the abdomen or legs. Scot Cohen, CEO of Wrap Technologies, said the cord length ensures it will wrap tightly around people’s bodies, but not too tightly that it would choke someone if the device accidentally went around a person’s neck. Some police officials have questioned whether the device would be truly effective or worth the cost — about $1,000 per device for Fairfax County.


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