ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Law enforcement’s new device used across the country to stop a fleeing vehicle has landed in the Albuquerque Police Department. The Grappler is a police bumper tool that attaches to a suspect’s vehicle, stopping it in its tracks. The technology is just three weeks old in APD, but the department says it’s come at a good time.
“If you think about the dangerousness, especially with the State Fair that just wrapped up and also the Balloon Fiesta and holidays where the amount of people that are coming to the city of Albuquerque is going to increase, our ability to be able to mitigate and limit a lot of those dangerous situations is going to be very important for us,” Aaron Jones, a Commander at APD in the Investigative Services Division said.
Although it’s still in a trial phase, it is in use on the streets. APD says so far two vehicles have been stopped successfully. Just days after the program was initiated, APD officers were following a stolen Volvo near the Rio Grande and Central. An officer used the Grappler to take down that vehicle 5 miles away near 98th and Tower.
“One of the most highly litigated portions in law enforcement is vehicle pursuits and so it’s not only going to save the citizens of Albuquerque money in the long run, it’s going to make us more efficient at our job and make everybody safer while we’re doing our job,” Jones said.
The device is only allowed to be used in certain circumstances such as to stop a stolen vehicle or violent criminal. As time goes on, Jones anticipates more APD vehicles will be armed with the Grappler. Jones says it’s money well spent. “I’ll say this, it’s much cheaper than the alternative as far as lawsuits and litigations go.”
The company that produces the Grappler said they are swamped with calls. There are roughly 24 law enforcement agencies, including Border Patrol, that is equipped with the technology.