NY authorities demo alternative use-of-force tool

Police in New York’s North Country are considering giving officers a new tool to subdue suspects.
Published: May. 19, 2021 at 8:21 AM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:14 AM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Police in New York’s North Country are considering giving officers a new tool to subdue suspects. It comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo last year required all police agencies in the state to look at their use-of-force protocols and come up with reform plans in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota.

Police from Essex, Clinton, and Franklin Counties Wednesday learned about less-lethal tools like BolaWrap. “Two years ago it was an unknown product to law enforcement,” said Don De Lucca, the chief strategy officer at Arizona-based Wrap Technologies.

It looks similar to a taser and ejects kevlar cables attached to fish hooks that wrap around a person’s legs or arms. The cables are easily cut and only puncture skin if the person wrapped tries to move or break free.

“Anything we can add to our list of tools to help do our job safely is something we want to look at, and this is definitely one we want to look at,” said Clinton Country Sheriff Maj. Nicholas Leon.

When fired, the device emits a loud flashbang. “It gives law enforcement that extra amount of time, that pause, to be able to react and address the situation,” De Lucca explained.

“Something that’s a little less invasive, easier to assist us in taking into custody without injury,” Leon said. Each device has a price tag of $1,000 and extra cable cartridges are $30 each. “There definitely is a cost in investment, but if it helps us do the job while saving one person from injury, it’s worth it.”

Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest got to experience the new device first-hand. “It didn’t hurt, it was more jarring and shocking than anything else,” he said. The mayor says Wednesday’s demo was geared to see if law enforcement agencies in surrounding communities are interested in the tool. “I like the technology. I think it’s something that would prove effective in certain situations.”

“It allows us to keep them safe, to keep us safe, so it might be a win all the way around,” Leon said.

“This is a humane restraint. It’s going to stop people from getting injured, stop unnecessary lawsuits, and it’s going to help keep policing moving forward,” De Lucca said.

Some police in the region are already using the tool including the Malone Police in New York; the Barre and Essex Police Departments; the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and the Somersworth Police in New Hampshire.

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