PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Many have seen an interesting invention used by law enforcement to stop cars during chases, including one on Thursday. A man allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend before leading officers on a chase through Phoenix and Glendale. However, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers used a grappling hook to safely stop his truck and end the pursuit. What makes it unique is that the grappler was invented and manufactured in Glendale.
In April, Arizona’s Family got a first look at the grappler being used in action. A bird’s eye view of the chopper from Family News of Arizona shows DPS soldiers lassoing a car using a grappler. “Before that, there were already around 400 grappling hooks, and I knew that at some point there would be a live TV grappling hook. Year after year, I say to myself, “When is this going to happen?” said Leonard Stock.
Stock, of Peoria, came up with the idea more than a decade ago after watching a show about police chases. He says the idea occurred to him in a dream. “I just fell asleep and was rocked by this idea of strapping around a tire,” he explained.
So how does the invention work? First, the grapple is mounted on the front of a patrol vehicle. An officer then deploys the net and directs it at one of the tires of a suspect’s vehicle. “When the net comes into contact with the spinning tire, the tire pulls the net and locks it in place,” Stock explained.
It took about six years before Stock perfected his invention using his cars. At first, he played the role of a cop, while his wife played the bad guy in the getaway car. “Yeah, it lasted about a month. So she left that job pretty quickly,” he said.
Since then, Stock has added 11 employees, including eight last year. Stock previously worked in construction, but said he couldn’t see himself doing anything other than making a lifesaving device. “With all the grapples and actual deployments, I would think someone’s life was saved or it kept someone from going to the hospital,” he said.
There are approximately 280 grapplers in service across the country. The number is expected to double by the end of 2022.
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