Invented by Leonard Stock of Arizona, the device can all but eliminate police chases. In fact, many jurisdictions already have policies in place that require that police break off a chase and allow a suspect vehicle to continue, even at high speed, out of a concern for both the public and the officers when the police vehicle is also traveling at high speed.
At the present, the police have limited choices, none of which is without risk.
- One, the police can break off the pursuit, in which the suspect can get away, or,
- They can lay spike strips to burst the tires, but that requires the police to preposition the strips where the suspect will pass and there is a danger to the officer laying the strip as well as bystanders or the car’s occupants if it loses control.
- They can attempt a “PIT” maneuver which requires the police chase vehicle to strike the suspect vehicle near a rear wheel, turning it sideways and forcing it to stop. This is a difficult and dangerous maneuver and requires training police on the technique. It can also send the suspect vehicle out of control.
- They can continue the chase, resulting in (at least) two vehicles driving erratically and at high speed, endangering others on the road.
Enter the “Grappler.”
The device consists of a high-strength net that’s deployed by the officer driving the chase vehicle. The net tangles up the suspect’s rear wheel and stops the vehicle dead. It can be tethered to the police vehicle or dispatched without the tether attached – depending on circumstances.
Here’s a video (it’s only 3:34) of the Grappler in action. See if you don’t agree that this device is sheer genius in its simplicity, yet it appears to work – and work well.
Inventor Stock said that he had the idea after watching a TV police show about police chases.
Here’s an interesting (and horrifying) statistic: 5,066 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police chases from 1979 through 2013. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver. At least 139 police officers have been killed in chases.
Mr. Stock’s invention has been in development for a number of years and is only now entering the market.
Kudos to Leonard Stock for thinking “outside the box” and conjuring up a device that can not only help police capture a fleeing suspect but do so much more safely than any other option available today.
H/T to my friend and contributor, Rock for letting me know about this.