The number of police chases is continuing to increase in Cochise County. The Sierra Vista Police Department (SVPD) is grappling with the “new normal” by upgrading their equipment.

Since the number of police pursuits have began to increase two years ago, local law enforcement have seen the need for equipment to help them in chases. SVPD Deputy Chief Lawrence Boutte says the need for new equipment was made clear to the team because of the number of chases officers are involved in.

You almost cringe when up you go to stop a vehicle because of the potential for a pursuit, he said.    

Sierra Vista police will buy 8 grapplers and radios to help stop those chases before they get too dangerous. Deputy Chief Boutte said the radios are for the few cars in the fleet which don’t have them, so every officer has a way to communicate.

City Councilman William Benning said it was a no-brainer to accept the grant money and purchase because the new equipment because it will help keep the community safe.

We want to get out there and stop the pursuit as soon as possible, before it gets to the city limits,” Benning said. “The grappler system is just another tool in our tool chest to help us do that.

Boutte explains that the grappler system allows an office to stop a chase, rather than having to call off the chase or wait for the diver to stop or crash.

A tool that goes actually wraps around the tire or the axle of the tire and brings the car to a stop,” Deputy Chief Boutte said. “And its tied to the police vehicles so it controls that vehicle so it doesnt go flying off the road or flying other places. 

The $108,000 will come from the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA). This is the second grant the department has received from DEMA for upgrades to their equipment. For Deputy Chief Boutte, the importance of the grappers is to help keep the community safe proactively in stopping speeding cars.

Its our ability to stop a vehicle before it causes injury to someone in the community, or at least give us an opportunity to stop that, Deputy Chief Boutte said.

The SVPD hopes the new equipment are on the roads in 2024. Deputy Chief Boutte says there are delays in shipping whare are causing a longer wait time. Officers will get trained on the equipment before it’s deployed in the field.