Police Bumper's Grappler is a nasty little device that mounts to the front of police pursuit cars and stops a car chase right in its tracks, safely and securely. It shoots out a net that grabs onto the target's rear wheel, wraps around it and completely drags the axle to a stop while destroying the tire.
Earlier this year, I went to my first rodeo in Nevada. We got there late, and it was just kids having sack and boot races. Later that day, I went to my second rodeo, where we watched teams of two riders on horseback roping cows on the move. One would lasso the horns, which seemed to be the easy part, then the second would try to get a lasso around one or both rear legs, which would totally bring the beast to a halt.
And that second part is exactly what the Grappler does, but to a car. Mounting to the front of a standard police truck such as a Tahoe, it's 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 manoeuvre that involves nudging the fleeing car so it spins around.
When you're coming up behind the bad guy, you hit a button to deploy the Grappler, then more or less run into the back of his car with the center of your car in line with one of the fleeing car's rear wheels.
A large yellow net is hung between two extending posts, and it quickly gets grabbed by the tire and hauled up and over, where it wraps itself around the axle, brings the wheel to an abrupt stop (and the other rear wheel too, if it's got certain types of rear differential). It often grabs with such force that it rips the tire right off the rim.
On a rear wheel drive vehicle, that's often enough to drag the car to a stop by itself, but with front wheel drive cars, once the rear wheel is locked up, the police driver can keep a tether connected to the wheel, create some separation between the two vehicles, and then drag it to a halt using the tether line and his own brakes. It's very effective, and stops the car in a straight line so it can be used even in heavy traffic.
The Grappler can be disguised as a bicycle rack for unmarked vehicles or tactical operations, but otherwise looks like a pair of horns on the front of the car.
Police Bumper is hoping to get the Grappler out in the field with police operations around the US, touting the fact that it brings cars to a much safer and more controlled stop than spinning them around with the PIT technique – and it keeps the officer at a safer distance from a potentially dangerous crook when the vehicles come to rest.
On the other hand, it's also a pretty bulky system that may not work on all police vehicles, and it's questionable how valuable they'd be if they were only on a few select vehicles in a given jurisdiction. I'm not sure how many police chases there are per day in the United States, but you'd want a lot to justify the as-yet-undisclosed cost of fitting one of these things.
So we'll wait and see if it takes off, but it sure makes for some cool video, as you can see below.
Source: Police Bumper