Redwood Falls Police Department seeking less-lethal restraint options

Troy Krause
Jason Cotner, Redwood Falls police chief (left) received some instructions from Daniel Savage prior to trying out the BolaWrap®.

When it comes to restraining individuals, the Redwood Falls Police Department’s resources are pretty limited.

In fact, according to Jason Cotner, Redwood Falls police chief, the department has just one less-lethal option, after hand-on tactics, that is available for its officers – the taser.

In an effort to address that, the department, in conjunction with the city’s police commission, has been investigating some other options, and during its most recent meeting the commission evaluated a number of those options with effectiveness, cost and public perception among the factors considered.

Among those options was one Cotner indicated intrigued commission members, but prior to making an actual recommendation members of the commission wanted to see a live demonstration.

The local police department hosted a demonstration Aug. 13 at the Redwood Area Community Center, with members of the commission, officers, media and others from the community invited to come and see it firsthand.

Known as BolaWrap®, the device demonstrated was an option Cotner had seen at a recent conference, and he found it very interesting.

Scott Knight and Daniel Savage visited Redwood Falls to provide a live, hands-on demonstration of the device and to explain why it is, from their perspective, such an effective tool for law enforcement. 

Knight, who has 44 years of law enforcement experience, and Savage, who has 36 years of experience, indicated they know there were times when they would encounter situations where a product like BolaWrap® would have been a good option.

According to Savage, there are 40 million people in the United States who have mental health issues, and quite often when there is an incident related to someone with a mental health issue law enforcement is called to the scene.

It is in those types of situations where a less-lethal option is effective, added Savage.

The BolaWrap® device shoots out an eight-foot Kevlar cord that, as the product name indicates, will wrap itself around the legs or torso and then hook in helping to immobilize an individual.

“It doesn’t hurt,” said Savage, adding the device really sets officers up for success in those incidents where less-lethal tools are the best option.

There are nearly 200 agencies in 43 states that are currently using BolaWrap®, and it is also in 27 countries.

“This can save lives and it can save careers,” said Savage.

According to Cotner, the department was able to access some grant money to purchase three units which will be available to the on-duty officers.

The goal of purchasing the three units is to test them over the next 12 months and determine if they’re effective and whether the department wants to eventually outfit each officer with their own unit.

BolaWrap® is sending its people down to train in two of the department’s officers who will then be responsible for training all the other officers.

Cotner indicated the hope is to put these trial units into service before the end of this year.

At the next police commission meeting members will discuss the BolaWrap®, but Cotner added he also wants to continue the conversation about less lethal options that have a longer range than the BolaWrap® and taser.

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