Coconut Creek police test non-lethal, pain-free way to restrain individuals

MIAMI – The Coconut Creek Police are testing new equipment to limit the use of force and reduce conflicts.

It’s called BolaWrap. A remote restraint device that launches a rope to restrain individuals.

“You have officers who want to do things differently than how they’ve always been done,” said Coconut Creek Mayor Josh Rydell. “You have a tool to allow them to do it differently.”

Rydell offered to demonstrate as a test subject for the device. His family and police staff watch from a safe distance as training officer Michael Giuttari prepares to deploy the device.

“Instead of us physically practicing and physically restraining them, we’re deploying this,” Giuttari said. “It will envelop them. Disorient them. Hopefully, they won’t know what just happened.”

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He lines up his target area with the laser on the BolaWrap. In this case, it is the legs of the Mayor, then issues the warning.

“Bola! Bola! Bola!” He shouts Bola as he would in the field to alert fellow officers that he is about to deploy the device. Once he does, it makes a loud noise like he fired a gun.

“The more you struggle or try to move, the hooks will dig in deeper,” Giuttari explained after the rope wrapped around Rydell.

A 2020 study published in November 2022 by the Office of Justice showed that 46% of US residents involved in a contact-initiated or related traffic accident view the threat or force of police as excessive. The Bolawrap, city leaders say, enhances efforts to defuse certain situations before they become physically combative.

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“Nationally, you see those videos that go viral and see those horrible things,” Rydell added. “It’s important to highlight when law enforcement has the right tools, so those viral videos never happen in your backyard.”

CBS4’s Joe Gorchow also chimed in to see how painless it was.

“Oh my lord, the sound was much worse than the wrap,” Gorchow described. “I have ringing in my left ear.”

“We need the ability to control the situation,” Giuttari explained to Gorchow. “If we can achieve that with the least amount of force or injuries to anyone involved, that’s the goal.”

The Coconut Creek pilot BolaWrap program has been in place since October. However, it has yet to be used in the field. During that same period, no Tasers were used.

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Coconut Creek police say they have eight Bolawraps in circulation. Two were issued to each of the four patrol teams in the pilot program. They say Law Enforcement Trust funds were used, not taxpayer money, to add this equipment to the police force.


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