High-speed car chases can be dangerous, but they might finally come to a quick end thanks to a new device called the Grappler Police Bumper. The Grappler mounts to the front of police pursuit cars. It is deployed by the push of a button and ends a car chase right in its tracks, safely and securely. It shoots out a “Y” shaped heavy duty net, which is maneuvered under the rear tire of the fleeing vehicle. The net wraps around the rear wheel and axle of the suspect’s vehicle, and brings it to a stop while destroying the tire.
The traditional method of stopping a fleeing suspect is the PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver that involves nudging the fleeing car so it spins around. However, the higher the speed, the more unpredictable and dangerous the PIT maneuver becomes. The Grappler is specifically designed to disable the rear wheel of a vehicle in a police chase, bringing them to a quick and safe stop without the use of the PIT maneuver.
On a rear wheel drive vehicle, the Grappler is often enough to drag the vehicle to a stop by itself. With front wheel drive cars, once the net grabs the rear wheel, the police driver can maintain some distance between him and the suspect’s vehicle, and then drag it to a halt using a tether line and by applying his own brakes. This can effectively stop the fleeing car in a straight line, making it possible to use it in heavy traffic as well.
The Grappler looks like a pair of horns on the front of the car, and it can be disguised as a bicycle rack for unmarked vehicles or tactical operations.
Grappler’s maker, Stock Enterprises, touts it as the new standard in de-escalation of high-speed pursuits – that it brings cars to a much safer and more controlled stop than the PIT technique. On the other hand, the system is somewhat bulky, and it may not work on all police vehicles. It remains to be seen if it catches on with the police departments around the country. If it does take off, high-speed chases might become a thing of the past.