How does the grappler work? Peoria man explains story behind the invention
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Many have seen an interesting invention law enforcement use to bring cars to a stop during chases, including one on Thursday. A man allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend before leading officers on a pursuit throughout Phoenix and Glendale. However, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers used a grappler to stop his truck safely and end the chase. What makes it unique is the grappler was invented and manufactured in Glendale.
In April, Arizona’s Family got a first glimpse at the grappler used in action. A bird’s eye view from Arizona’s Family news chopper shows DPS troopers lassoing a car using a grappler. “Previous to that, there were already around 400 grapples, and I knew at some point there was going to be a live TV grapple. Year after year, I’m like, ‘when’s it gonna happen?’” said Leonard Stock.
Stock, from Peoria, came up with the idea more than a decade ago after watching a show about police chases. He says the idea appeared to him in a dream. “I just went to sleep, and I was shaken awake with this idea of strap going around a tire,” he explained.
So how does the invention work? First, the grappler is mounted on the front of a patrol vehicle. An officer then deploys the net and directs it onto one of the tires of a suspect’s vehicle. “When the net comes in contact with the rotating tire, the tire pulls the net around and locks it up,” 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, that lasted about a month. So she retired from that position pretty quickly,” he said.
Since then, Stock has added 11 employees, with eight just in the past year. Stock previously worked in construction but said he doesn’t see himself doing anything else besides manufacturing a life-saving device. “With all of the grapples and live deployments, I would think someone’s life was saved or it prevented someone from going to the hospital,” he said.
There are about 280 grapplers in use across the country. The number is expected to double by the end of 2022.
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