Bill to crack down on SWATTING calls awaits governor’s signature

DES MOINES — People who falsely report a shooting or other incident that would require a massive police response could be charged with a felony if the governor approves a bill that’s cleared the legislature.

Representative Zach Dieken of Granville says during the last school year there were 89 of these false reports about non-existent threats in school districts.

“As somebody who has been not only been a trooper for 12 years, but also a SWAT officer for 7 of those 12, we cannot continue to waste manpower and put our lives at risk responding to things that are not real,” Dieken says.

These incidents are sometimes called “SWATTING” — a reference to “Special Weapons and Tactics” or SWAT teams.

“This bill ups penalties appropriately, fitting the crime of false reporting,” Dieken said. “We cannot continue putting up with these instances.”

Dieken says in addition to law enforcement, fire fighters and EMTs waste time and resources responding to something that turns out to be nothing.

The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously.