PHOENIX — It may look like a weapon out of a western movie, but a new crime-fighting device may soon be in the hands of deputies from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office.
It's called the BolaWrap and it can be a safer alternative to a stun gun or handgun.
It’s like a high-tech version of roping cattle and can restrain a suspects' arms or legs when activated.
"You know not everything is a shoot scenario but not everything is a Taser or pepper spray scenario," La Paz County Captain Curtis Bagby said.
The BolaWrap could be useful in situations where emotional people or people with a mental illness can’t follow a deputy’s commands, Bagby said.
"Those are instances where law enforcement are in a bad situation and might have to act," he said.
Bagby says it will give more options to end potentially violent situations while patrolling an area made up of 72 miles of Interstate 10 west between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
"We’ve had a lot of officers involved shootings in the last couple of years and I think we ranked highest in the state, unfortunately," Bagby said. "It’s a very dangerous place and we are willing to do anything to bring that number down."
The wrap fits in your hand and discharges an eight-foot, bola-style kevlar tether at 640 feet per second.
Bagby described the BolaWrap as a square or rectangular device that has a laser pointer and sounds like a gun when it explodes.
When the tether is ejected, it will entangle a person from 10 to 25 feet away.
Bagby is hoping the office’s insurance company will purchase 32 BolaWraps, which would cost around $40,000.
“I want every one of our certified peace officers to have one with them so that they have every tool necessary to keep the public safe,” Bagby said.