INDIANAPOLIS — It was just before 2 a.m. on October 24th when IMPD officers responded to a report of a man acting erratically at the corner of Lambert and Kappes Streets.
The man was waving his arms in the air, moaning and growling, crouching down and abruptly rising up, alternately lying in the street and calling for help while ignoring officer orders to calm down.
One officer advised his partners he had a Bolawrap and shouted, “Bola! Bola! Bola!” before firing the device, wrapping the man up in a Spider-man like web and immobilizing him long enough for officers and paramedics to move in, strap him to a gurney and deliver him to Eskenazi Hospital for treatment.
“The Bolawrap allows us to limit someone’s mobility either of 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 of an opportunity to either run or kick or strike and we can take them into custody with much less of a struggle,” said Patrolman Damon Young, Lead De-Escalation Instructor at the IMPD Training Academy. “If we’re limiting someone’s ability to move, whether it be move their arms to strike the officer or to use their legs in a kicking manner or establishing a better balance, then our officers less likely to be struck.”
In 2021, IMPD officers have fired their weapons in twelve incidents leading to three deaths, each time indicating that the person aimed a gun their way.
The Bolawrap is intended for deployment in less volatile situations.
“From the two deployments that we have, the officers are appreciative that they have that opportunity and they noted that it was significantly better and safer for them,” said Young.
Currently 20 SWAT and Field Training officers and officers treated to respond to mental health issues have been trained on the Bolawrap in what is an open ended pilot program.