HAYS COUNTY, Texas - The Hays County Sheriff’s Office is looking into a device to restrain individuals without using force of pain.
This comes as use of force cases are top of mind for departments, including Hays County, following an officer-involved deadly shooting in December 2022.
"I think it's critically important in the climate we live in today. But I think, you know, technology is finally caught up with law enforcement," Retired Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said.
When deployed, the Bola Wrap fires a lasso-like tether with hooks on each end that wraps around a person’s arms or legs, preventing them from fleeing, kicking, or punching.
"Any type of tool that we can use to better equip our officers to ensure that not only they're safe but the community members are safe as well, that's important for any agency to look at that," Hays County Sheriff’s Office PIO Anthony Hipolito said.
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Nichols said this tool can be used before pepper spray, bean bags, a taser, baton, or gun, and it doesn’t rely on pain for the person to submit.
"It's a paradigm shift. This is an absolute paradigm shift for law enforcement," Nichols said.
In April 2023, a Hays County Grand Jury indicted a Hays County Corrections Officer with a felony offense of deadly conduct. The Sheriff’s Office said in December 2022, 27-year-old Hays County Corrections Officer Isaiah Garcia shot and killed inmate Joshua Wright, while guarding him in the hospital.
When asked where the Bola Wrap could be helpful in the department, Hipolito said, "Everywhere, not only in the jail, not only the corrections officers that make those transports to and from the courthouse, the hospital, but on the streets, not only in law enforcement officers that patrol on a daily basis, but our mental health officers as well."
The Georgetown Police Department recently finished their training and will have 16 of these devices.