Police officer helping domestic violence victims with invention

This Bolo Stick, invented by Howland resident and former police officer William Barna, is designed to withstand pressure of up to 2 tons and is designed for active shooter situations or to keep intruders out.
This Bolo Stick, invented by Howland resident and former police officer William Barna, is designed to withstand pressure of up to 2 tons and is designed for active shooter situations or to keep intruders out.


WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A police officer is hoping to keep women across the Valley safe with his new invention.

William Barna says all it takes is one person with physical strength and a driven mindset to break down a door. That person is who Barna had in mind when he involved the Bolo Stick two years ago.

The Bolo Stick is a solid-steel door barricade device that has been tested to resist forces in excess of 4,200 pounds. According to its website, the tool has no mechanical pieces which can be defective, and it requires no special knowledge to operate.

Barna, a police officer who lives in Howland, said the product was initially invented to keep people safe from active shooting situations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that 69 percent of the active-shooter incidents studied between 2000 and 2013 lasted less than 5 minutes. The Bolo Stick seeks to save lives with one-step activation and a low attachment point.

“As we read the news every day, there are critical instances happening all over, and it’s better to be pre-active and proactive than it is to be reactive,” Barna said.

Barna recently found another group who could benefit from his invention, however. That group includes women who have been victims of domestic violence.

On Friday, Barna donated his product to the women of Trumbull County’s domestic violence agency, Someplace Safe. The agency believes it will help the women feel more at ease as they head back into a life of independence.

“They’re starting from the bottom a lot of times and having to go out and start completely over again, and the last thing that they need to be worried about is their safety,” said Lauren Webb, an employee at Someplace Safe.

The Bolo Stick was originally invented to help protect students and teachers in schools from active shooters or other emergencies, however, Barna has found that it is used by people in many different types of businesses and also for personal use.

State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, said there has also been a movement to get them elsewhere.

“A few months ago, a bill was passed to help get them installed in schools and other areas,” he said. “I think this is a great donation. I think it’s going to help a lot of victims of domestic violence.”

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