Tuscaloosa County mental health officers train with ‘Bola Wrap’

New tool for West Ala. law enforcement

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - West Alabama law enforcement officers have a new tool to use if officers come into contact with someone suffering from mental health problems.

Mental health officers with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office demonstrated Thursday how the Bola Wrap works.

Officers say the wrap would make it easier for them subdue someone who has mental illness and is also combative.

They showed how quickly the Bola Wrap can wrap around someone’s arms and legs during a demonstration at the department’s hangar.

When deputies saw it in action, they felt it could better help them do their jobs.

“We all first saw it. We were like there’s no way it’s going to work and when they demonstrated it we were all impressed with how it stopped someone,” Deputy Keith Fair told WBRC.

Deputy demonstrates a hit with a Bola Wrap

Sheriff Ron Abernathy said the department bought them for mental health officers in Tuscaloosa County to use when they encounter someone who may suffer from mental illness.

“So many times somebody with a mental illness is facing a terrible situation at that particular time, whether they’re off their medication or whatever the problem may be, and we want to make sure we can get them under control, and get the situation under control and get them some medical help,” Abernathy said.

Only two deputies with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office are armed with Bola Wraps. The plan is to also outfit supervisors in that department and nearly half a dozen other mental health officers from other Tuscaloosa-area police departments.

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