Colonel John Stuelke, with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, told KCRG-TV his agency has responded to three swatting calls in the last 12 months. It involves a fake emergency call that sends all available law enforcement to one location — something that creates serious safety concerns.
“It’s not only the call itself that makes it serious, but we have people running red lights and sirens to these calls and that’s always a dangerous situation too,” Stuelke said. Linn County Sheriff’s Major Gerald Hansel told KCRG there are several possible motives behind the calls.”He’s checking our response, maybe he doesn’t like someone so he’s trying to get them in trouble,” Hansel said.
Swatting calls can pull officers away from real emergencies, so even if the calls are meant to be joke, the consequences can be serious. Anyone caught swatting can face criminal charges.
Earlier this week, officers surrounded a home in the Linn County town of Toddville after a caller dialed police claiming to have shot an individual and threatening to hurt more people in the home. The call was prank, similar to other swatting calls in Fairfax in December 2014 and Robins in March 2015.