SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department announced a new emphasis on using “less-lethal” weapons while on duty. Seattle Police officers demonstrated using four less lethal weapon options on Monday, all in an effort to save lives.
“With these tools it allows us to actually get somebody into compliance or gain somebody’s compliance without having to use lethal force which is what we really intend for we want to make sure we save people’s lives,” said SPD Chief Adrian Diaz.
One less-lethal weapon includes a new remote restraint device called the “Bola Wrap.” The device has a 20-foot range and is designed to wrap around an individual’s legs or arms.
The department distributed this new tool to 30 officers who will use it during a six-month pilot program before SPD considers purchasing it for the entire department. Meanwhile, you may be familiar with the other less lethal options. That consists of an upgraded taser, that has a range of 45 feet, and it gives officers 10 shots instead of two. The department hopes to have these new Tasers by the fall.
Along with the taser, SPD showcased pepper spray and a 40-millimeter launcher. Chief Diaz hopes all these tools will provide safer outcomes when officers respond to emergency calls.
“Trying to reduce officer-involved shootings,” said Chief Diaz. “And being able to have these options from different levels of force so having a Bola Wrap at a level 1 use of force and having a taser at a level 2 use of force and that just gives officers options in how they’re being able to address a situation so they’re not hurting somebody.”
Officers will still have their firearms with them. Chief Diaz said firearms are to be used as a last resort.