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DeWitt Township police invest in non-lethal detainment equipment

Officer Ethan Rennaker deploying BolaWrap for demonstration
Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 28, 2022

DEWITT TWP., Mich. — The DeWitt Township Police Department is ahead of the curve in its latest investment - the BolaWrap. It's a new technology used to apprehend suspects without pulling a trigger.

Although it sounds like a gun shot when deployed, the force is less than lethal. Township officer and BolaWrap instructor Ethan Rennaker said it's a tool they use for quick detainment.

"We have a taser, we have pepper spray—sometimes, that force isn't needed," Rennaker said. "Someone who is in need of help, we'd rather not have to tase them, we'd rather not have to spray them because those have lingering effects."

So, how does it work exactly?

Well, the officer hits the activation button, which causes micro-gas to propel a 7 1/2 foot Kevlar cord with hooks at each end out of the cassette. If everything goes according to plan, the cord will hook and wrap around the suspects arms or legs.

"You have to make sure you have at least your 8-foot range, otherwise it's, you know if it hits a wall or an object, then it's useless," Rennaker said.

The device can propel one cord at a time, and it takes anywhere between two and six seconds to reload.

"It gives you multiple green lasers, so it tells you exactly where it's going to go," Rennaker said.

DeWitt Township BolaWrap training demonstration
DeWitt Township BolaWrap training demonstration
DeWitt Township BolaWrap training demonstration, part two
DeWitt Township BolaWrap training demonstration, part two

Rennaker said he found out about BolaWraps online last year. The department bought three BolaWraps for about $4,000, paid for by drug-forfeiture dollars.

"I don't know of another agency in this area that has them," Rennaker said.

"Anything that we can do or provide to make the jobs both safer for the community and public, but also easier for our officers, we're going to explore," Township Manager Andrew Dymczyk said.

During demonstrations, however, the BolaWraps didn't seem to do what they were intended to do.

"They were replaced about a month and a half ago by the company, and quite truthfully, we haven't shot them since then," Interim Police Chief Jason Jones said. "Quite truthfully, six unsuccessful wraps—I don't see a point in putting them out there. It's a tool that's not working. We'll do what we can to get it fixed. We'll call the company and we'll go from there."

Rennaker said everyone in the department should be trained on the new tech within the next month.

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5:49 PM, Jun 03, 2022

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