CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some local police agencies are testing out a new tool that wraps a cord about a suspect’s body.
It’s called the BolaWrap. It fires like a gun but doesn’t fire bullets, only blanks.
On Friday, officers from the Charleston and North Charleston police departments watched a demonstration of the device.
The company's chief operating officer says the device was created with the mentally ill in mind.
“A way that was more humane and a different approach to control their movement so that officers didn’t have to hurt them in order to get them help,” Mike Rothans said.
A green laser finds the target. When the cartridge is fired an eight foot cord with hooks on each end comes flying out.
It only takes a second.
The cord is made of Kevlar, the same material used to make protective vests for police. It wraps around the body or the legs.
Rothans says the wrap can also be used during high risk encounters but not if the person is armed with a gun. He says it has already saved lives.
"Certainly and we've seen that already," Rothans said. "It's already been used by agencies in the field."
Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds tested out the wrap. Reynolds says the department is taking a close look at the device.
"Our goal is to resolve any incident where everybody goes home safely, not just the officers but everybody involved," Reynolds said.
So how does it feel to be wrapped?
Live 5 News reporter Harve Jacobs volunteered. In an instant, the cord wrapped around him. The wrap did its job.
Soon you may see it being used by police agencies in the Lowcountry.
"It could be a game changer," Reynolds said.
Rothans says more than 100 police departments are using the Bolawrap.
He says each device including the cartridge costs about $1,000.