When fists and feet are flying and several cops pile onto a struggling suspect to subdue him, more often they are calling for “The Wrap.” The stiff nylon blanket is wrapped around people’s legs and strapped in place to keep them from kicking, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. A chest harness holds their handcuffed hands in place and keeps them sitting upright, so they can breathe easily. The Wrap is becoming more popular among police agencies and gradually replacing the decades-old “maximum restraint,” or hogtie system. That involves cuffing wrists and wrapping the ankles with a hobble strap that then connects to the handcuffs while the prisoner lies face-down, knees bent.
That position has been linked nationwide with suffocation deaths, especially where the prisoner is overweight, highly intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs that can harm the heart or brain. San Diego’s police department initially acquired 10 Wraps from maker Safe Restraints, Inc. in Walnut Creek, Ca., six months ago, but now has 50. “The Wrap is more effective and there is no getting out of it,” said San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl. “It is safer for officers and for people who are combative.”