Police now using the Grappler Police Bumper to end car chases

Police used the Grappler Police Bumper to end a car chase in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a report from a local Fox News affiliate.

Three unmarked cars pursued a target vehicle, with one using the Grappler to stop the perp, according to a video clip from the report posted on Twitter.

The Grappler Police Bumper appeared in 2016 and has been pitched as a safer way to end police chases. Mounted to the front bumper of a police vehicle, it deploys a net that ensnares one of the tires of the vehicle being pursued. Once caught in the snare, the wheel locks up, forcing the vehicle to stop. 

The police vehicle and the target remain linked by a tether. So, as shown in the video, the target vehicle can’t drive away after both vehicles stop. The driver of the police vehicle can release the tether at any time, the company behind the Grappler Police Bumper has said.

This method is designed to end police chases in a less-violent way than the standard precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver, which can lead to big wrecks, and the more aggressive techniques used by police in the old days.

Still, we can imagine some situations where ensnaring a vehicle with a tether and locking up its rear wheels could cause the fleeing subject to lose control. Having two vehicles tethered together also seems like it could be problematic, especially because one driver doesn’t know what the other will do. But in this chase, at least, the Grappler Police Bumper appears to have worked as designed.

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