April 26, 2018 – Running from the law in Yuma County just got a little bit harder this week thanks to a new device called the Grappler. The Grappler, manufactured by Stock Enterprises of Peoria, Arizona, is a pursuit intervention device that stops a vehicle actively fleeing from deputies through the deployment of a capturing device mounted on the front of the patrol vehicle. The device looks like a standard ranch-style grill guard (replacing the grill guards that are already added to a patrol vehicle upfit), but unfolds electronically to present a net that captures the rear wheel of the fleeing vehicle, locking up the rear axle and thereby disabling it.
The Grappler is new technology for law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office is proudly the first law enforcement agency in the country to put one in service. Traditional methods of ending a vehicle pursuit are often extremely dangerous; requiring a second deputy to be ahead of the pursuit in order to deploy spike strips while placing themselves physically in the trajectory of the fleeing vehicle, or by making physical vehicle on vehicle contact in order to conduct what is traditionally referred to as a “PIT” maneuver. There have been two vehicle pursuits in Yuma County so far this year; both of which could have been ended much sooner and safer had the Sheriff’s Office had access to this technology at the time.
The Grappler is a force multiplier for the Sheriff’s Office. Often, deputies are on duty by themselves when pursuits occur, and assisting on-call deputies or other area law enforcement agencies are often not in the right place to get ahead of the pursuit to lay out spike strips. The Grappler allows the pursuing deputy to end the pursuit at the earliest possible opportunity without having to endanger the lives of other motorists.
Sheriff Day, “We’re really happy to be on the front end of this product being made available to law enforcement. I can see this changing the way pursuit policy around the country is written. This is a simple step we can take to ensure the safety of the public on the roads, and we look forward to when we can have them on all of the patrol vehicles.”