Nether Providence Twp. police equipped with new non-lethal de-escalation device

"The device is designed to detain a person without harm who is a threat to themselves, the officer or the community."

Annie McCormick Image
Friday, August 12, 2022
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"The device is designed to detain a person without harm who is a threat to themselves, the officer or the community," said Chief David Splain.

NETHER PROVIDENCE TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Nether Providence Township police are the first in Delaware County, Pennsylvania to purchase and successfully use a new non-lethal de-escalation device called the "Bola Wrap".

The device shoots out a kevlar cord with anchors on the end that are designed to hook into the clothing of the person they are detaining.

The department recently purchased two of the devices that cost $1,200 each.

Both "Bola Wrap" devices are kept in a supervisor's vehicle since the agency's policy is that a supervisor's approval is required before deploying it.

All officers have been trained by the police department's three certified instructors.

"You need at least three to four feet around the subject in order for this to be effective," said Patrolman Matthew Liss, who gave a demonstration to Action News.

Nether Providence Township Patrolman Matthew Liss demonstrated how the device is used.

First, the officer points the device at the subject, a laser appears.

And then once deployed, officers must issue the warning, "Bola, bola, bola."

"Then there is a loud bang that sounds like a gunshot, and the kevlar cord wraps around the subject so they can't move.

"Just the noise and the impact when it hits the person is a distraction enough to give you time to move in," said Liss. "If we get to the scene where there's an emotionally disturbed person, we want to use this before things escalate."

Chief David Splain explained it's part of a greater nationwide push by law enforcement agencies to find more non-lethal de-escalation techniques.

"We believe that every agency, including our own, needs to reevaluate their practices and find room for growth. The device is designed to detain a person without harm who is a threat to themselves, the officer or the community," said Splain.

"Force is never pretty, but hopefully this will reduce injury to officers and reduce injury to those taken into custody," added Splain.

Splain said officers have already successfully used the device and the subject was taken into custody without injury.