Swatting Incidents Are a Big Waste of Resources

Swatting Incidents Are a Big Waste of Resources
Posted on 09/27/2016

Swatting Incidents Are a Big Waste of Resources According to what is written on Wikipedia, “swatting” is the act of deceiving emergency services into sending police and 911 response teams based on the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency.  Unfortunately, swatting is becoming more common in our society, and it has been a growing problem in our community over the past two years.

Last year, our school district dealt with several incidents that could be considered swatting.  While a couple of the incidents were local situations that were handled at the local level, it appears that a number of the threats received were from sources outside of Wisconsin. Thanks to diligence and cooperation between our school district, local law enforcement agencies, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there is an ongoing federal investigation.

On Monday, our schools and community were forced to deal with another swatting incident when a man called the Menomonie Police Department dispatch center and reported that there was an explosive device on one of our school buses. Thanks to quick action by Menomonie Transportation Company, buses were immediately returned to the nearest school, where passengers were evacuated until law enforcement could respond and clear each bus for continued service.

Swatting incidents have not only been a problem in our school district, but also in our community and in other schools and communities across the country.  Earlier this month, the Menomonie Police Department responded to a domestic swatting incident, and a simple Internet search for “swatting incident” results is many similar examples from across the country.

Consequences from swatting can vary, but can be quite severe.  Not only are there harsh fines and other legal consequences that can be considered as punishment for swatting, but students participating in a swatting incident involving the school would also most likely be facing expulsion.  In addition to the personal consequences, swatters need to realize that triggering an emergency response is not only disruptive for a large number of people, but it can put many people in our community at risk, and it is a huge waste of our community resources.

Should school families or stakeholders have any questions or information about the swatting incidents in our school district, I invite you visit me at the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue, or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website (www.sdmaonline.com), and I regularly post school-related information on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sdmaonline) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/menomonie.schools)