PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia authorities are looking into using a new device that could help capture potentially armed and threatening suspects instead of a Taser or a gun.
It may sound like a gun, but the BolaWrap remote restraint shoots a Kevlar cord from a handheld device a little bigger than a smartphone. Weighted hooks on each end cause the cord to wrap around a person.
Tom Smith, president and interim CEO of Wrap Technologies, says it works better than a Taser -- which he and his brother developed -- because a Taser needs skin contact to work at full capacity. The BolaWrap's hooks, instead, snag a person's clothes.
"It happens in a blink of an eye, you don’t even see it," Smith said. "It's over 500 feet per second."
A green laser line allows the user to accurately aim the BolaWrap. The device has a range of 10 to 25 feet, and it's designed to hold a person's arms or legs until officers can subdue them.
"The cartridge is a single deployment. And then you throw that away. The device, you use over and over again," Smith said.
"You can do it very quickly, to load it, unload it, and deploy it again in two seconds. Or if there’s multiple officers and they all deploy it at the same time, there’s no downside."
Officers only need a few hours of initial training and then a refresher for an hour or so every few months.
Smith says they have met with community leaders and the Philadelphia Police Department's SWAT unit about potentially arming officers in the city.