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Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Wins Stop Stick® 2020 hit of the year

Stop Stick® 2020 Hit of the year safely recovers a 2-year-old boy, after being kidnapped and leading police on a high-speed chase in Kansas City, KS.

A Stop Stick deployment in Kansas City, Kansas – that stopped a kidnapping suspect traveling at speeds of 120 miles per hour – has earned this year's 2020 Hit of the Year.

Deputy Gary Graniewski – of Johnson County Sheriff’s Department received the Hit of the Year award for his quick response in deploying Stop Stick®. His hit was singled out from almost four thousand entries this year, for his quick planning, and effective deployment that brought a safe ending to a pursuit involving a kidnapped 2-year-old boy.

 

A woman just jumped in the car and fled

The situation began around 11:30 a.m. when Kansas City Kansas Police responded to a 911 call from the kidnapped boy’s father. He had reported to police that he had left the child and keys inside the vehicle while he went to talk with someone. That’s when a woman jumped inside his car and sped off.

Kansas City Police officers were quick to respond and attempted to signal the stolen vehicle to pull over just as the call was being made over the dispatch radio. The suspect ignored the officer's commands, and quickly escalated the pursuit to high speeds of 120 miles per hour.

The suspect took officers southbound on Interstate 35 then eventually getting on to Interstate 69. Kansas City Police put out a call for assistance from all available Johnson County officers in the area. That’s when Deputy Graniewski took action.

 

I need to have a plan

Deputy Graniewski, was picking up his lunch when the call from dispatch was made for assistance. Another Sheriff’s Deputy contacted Graniewski to inform him that the pursuit was headed in his direction.

Graniewski quickly ran to his vehicle, which was already parked a short distance from I-69. He listened as the pursuing officer announced the streets and location as they passed over the radio.

“All that was running through my head was I needed to have a plan”, Deputy Graniewski has had a long-tenured career as an officer in the Johnson County area, formerly of the Lenexa Police Department. He has already had 3 successful Stop Stick® deployments and trains regularly on tactical deployments.

While on the radio with dispatch, Deputy Graniewski quickly came up with a plan to intercept the pursuit. Still traveling southbound at excessive speeds, no other departments were able to catch up to the lead vehicle at that time.  Graniewski rushed northbound on I-69 coordinating with dispatch and the KCK PD lead vehicle, to set up the Stop Stick Devices near 191st Street.

The location provided Graniewski with the best possible cover. He explains there is a median that drops down with a guard rail that allowed him to park his vehicle behind for additional cover. Staying calm, and relying on his training, he deployed Stop Stick® on the opposite shoulder, cord reel in hand, he then got to cover behind the guard rail.

This is going to make this deployment particularly difficult.

As Graniewski was waiting for the approaching pursuit, he saw there was a large dump truck traveling in the right southbound lane and was looking like it was going to prevent him from deploying Stop Stick® in time. “Buddy either speed up or pull over”, he thought to himself as the truck and the pursuit quickly approached his position.

As the truck continued in the right lane, the suspect's vehicle nearly caught up with the Dump truck. Within a fraction of a second, the truck passed over the cord reel lead allowing Graniewski to pull the Stop Stick Device into the path of the suspect’s vehicle making the hit at approximately 100 MPH, and puncturing 2 tires. After clearing the deployed Stop Stick Device from the roadway, Graniewski proceeded to join the pursuit. The suspect's vehicle came to a safe stop approximately 5 miles after the car came into contact with the Stop Stick Device.

The suspect was taken into custody and the 2-year-old boy was safely recovered and reunited with his family.

 

If I hadn’t deployed the Stop Stick Device the pursuit wouldn’t have ended well.

I-69 is a main commercial traffic corridor and is often occupied with larger commercial and construction vehicles. “If I hadn’t deployed Stop Sticks the pursuit wouldn’t have ended well” Graniewski explains “a fleeing vehicle traveling at speeds over 100 MPH on a busy highway, the likelihood of an accident is almost guaranteed, and a pit maneuver isn’t ideal at those speeds especially if there is a child in the car.” 

Fortunately, thanks to a steady hand, and quick reaction Deputy Graniewski was able to navigate and time his deployment. Successfully bringing the pursuit to a manageable speed, and causing the suspect to surrender peacefully. 

 

It is the training you do with Stop Stick that will keep you safe and successful no matter what situation you are in.

This was Deputy Graniewski’s third deployment with Stop Stick® but despite having past deployments he still states, that whenever you deploy the Stop Stick Devices there is a heavy dependence on your training. Every pursuit is different and dynamic; however, the deployment process is always the same. While Stop Stick® is simple to use, it's still important to practice, ensuring you are consistent no matter the situation you’re put in.

Graniewski’s recently retired from the force in November after 30 years serving the Johnson County Kansas Area. He is taking advantage of his newly retired life spending time with his family, and looks forward to being able to travel the country as life begins to normalize after the pandemic.

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