Car chases on “The Dukes of Hazzard” may have had a different outcome if Boss Hogg’s associates were able to safely lasso Bo and Luke Duke’s General Lee with the same tool credited in concluding some real-life vehicle pursuits, the Grappler Police Bumper.
It was a television show about police chases ending badly that actually inspired Grappler inventor Leonard Stock to devise a takedown for high-speed vehicles while mitigating the possibility of driver, passenger, police and pedestrian injuries.
According to the Grappler’s website, Stock’s concept roused him from a sound sleep that very night.
A week later, as Stock retold on Grappler’s website, he attached his prototype to “the front of his truck” and headed to the Arizona desert with his wife Frances for their own simulation, his spouse in “the getaway car … the family Suburban.”
After its first capture in Nov. 2018, 94 car pursuits have come to a successful close as of Oct. 2020, thanks to the Police Bumper.
Stock tested out his Grappler for the Kansas City Star in June 2019, describing the innovation as a way “to prevent a reckless individual from speeding through an intersection and injuring and killing somebody.”
He also said, with it, “a police officer can regain control of a volatile situation.”
Stock told the Kansas City Star, the device — priced at $5,000 each with installation and training included — was “80 to 90 percent effective.”
The video showed that once activated, the Grappler attaches onto the pursued auto, eventually bringing it to a smooth stop. The device tether, which can be released at any time, may also detach from its base prior to deployment, entangling within the other vehicle’s tire to slow it down.
One of the most recent cases where the Grappler was implemented was with Arizona’s Department of Public Safety — the state where the device is manufactured — in successfully apprehending an erratic driver, as demonstrated in its dashcam footage.
DPS captured Amy Sharie Pierce, 39, of Mesa, Ariz., after she allegedly continually rammed an unidentified female victim’s car on Sept. 22.
The frightened driver dialed 911 as the incident was in process and police quickly responded to the scene.
Police engaged in chasing Pierce as she consistently bumped the victim’s car, refusing to pull over for law enforcement.
This video depicts an incident which occurred on the night of Tuesday, September 22, 2020 around 7:51 p.m. and concluded on the San Tan Loop 202. (🔊Sound on.)#AZTroopers #CourteousVigilance #GrapplerPoliceBumper pic.twitter.com/fWD2PxQpX2
— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) October 1, 2020
After engaging the Grappler, the contraption snared Pierce’s SUV, eventually bringing it to a full halt.
Arizona DPS reported the victim “was not seriously injured.”
According to The Arizona Republic, Pierce was intoxicated and pursued the other car — a Ford Mustang — jettisoning it “at speeds of over 100 miles per hour,” because she was certain it was her ex-husband.
Pierce was charged with “criminal damage, endangerment, unlawful flight and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.”
In August 2019, KPNX-TV reported Phoenix Police used the Grappler to stop a pair of kidnappers in their tracks.
According to KPNX, two men abducted an unidentified woman, in an attempt to extort ransom from one of her relatives and her boyfriend.
Stock, who was interviewed for one of the network’s segments, said the device was in use with “departments across the country.”
He believed in this case the Grappler was better than a “pit maneuver,” which he said could make “a car skid out of control, putting people in danger,” because “there was someone innocent in the vehicle.”
The Grappler, Stock added, stealthily “hides in plain sight” within a police vehicle’s bumper, the yellow nets only revealed after personnel pushes a button.
Missouri’s Cass County Sheriff Jeff Weber told the Kansas City Star the Grappler was also a viable alternative in lessening the risk of police officer injury.
“This [the Grappler] allows me to stay behind the bad guy, even at low speeds, and hook these vehicles and bring them to a stop, and not worry about the public or the officer getting hurt,” Weber said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.