DENVER — It is a bizarre phenomenon — calling 911 for a fake emergency on someone else.
It’s called “swatting” and the goal is to get a police SWAT Team to arrive to someone’s home.
In Littleton in 2014 an entire community was placed on lockdown after a someone called in a prank on a man while gaming.
In Wichita within the last few weeks a man was actually killed by the SWAT team accidentally.
Currently in Colorado, penalties for fake 911 calls are minor misdemeanors in nature.
Now a bill in the General Assembly would change that to a class one misdemeanor or in some cases a felony.
“It puts public safety and law enforcement in jeopardy,” Senator John Cooke, a sponsor of the bill said.
“There is a provision in there that says the person doing the swatting has to repay the cost to police because it is an expensive prank,” Cooke said.
FOX31’s Joe St. George was able to actually speak with a person, anonymously, who previously swatted people.
“Why do this behavior?” St. George asked.
“A lot of times we would do it as a joke, most of the time it is a neighbor or a friend who made us mad,” the man said.
When asked if this bill would reduce the practice, the individual said, “I don’t think it’s going to work as technology gets better we continue to outsmart them.”
This bill already advanced out of its first committee with bipartisan support. The only real opposition is coming from the mental health community which is worried people with real mental illnesses could be charged with a crime.