YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Yonkers police are testing out a new non-lethal weapon that looks like it’s straight out of a movie.
Instead of bullets, it shoots a rope that ties up a suspect before that person can harm police, or themselves, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Tuesday.
It’s like a high-tech lasso, or a device that Spider-Man might use. The remote-controlled restraint device may end up an alternative to using a Taser or a gun.
“It looks like something out of Batman, but it’s something that I think could be used in the street,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said.
It’s called the BolaWrap 100. Though when fired it sounds like a gun, it instead discharges 8 feet of rope that wraps around a potential suspect’s arms or legs and can reach someone running away up to a distance of 25 feet.
The product has been under development for two years, built by Wrap Technologies, a company backed by retired officers. Its goal was to create a non-lethal — and non-painful — way to de-escalate situations. For example, when officers respond to a call involving an emotionally disturbed person.
“This isn’t to be used against somebody that has a knife or a gun, a deadly force situation,” said Mike Rothans, Senior VP of Wrap Technologies. “It’s to be used early in an encounter, somebody suffering from mental health crisis so you can restrain them before force has to escalate to Taser or deadly force.”
The cord is made out of Kevlar, the same material used in a bulletproof vest. A hook attaches to the clothing and wraps around twice.
CBS2’s Duddridge tried shooting it herself. It’s a powerful device that launches at a force of 640 feet per second.
The hooks can dig into the skin a bit and leave a mark, but will cause little injury or pain.
“It happens really fast. The sound kind of disorients you and it prevents you from being mobile,” Yonkers Police Officer David Goldberg said.
The creators are working with about 40 police departments across the country. Tests will decide if it’s something that the City of Yonkers might roll out in the future.
Yonkers Police said the tests will take several weeks. Members of the NYPD also attended the trials.