‘Swatting’ Prank Hits Zeeland; Police Chief Says It’s No Joke

Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-18 11:35:19-04

Member of Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team during swatting incident at celebrity home.

ZEELAND, Mich. (April 18, 2014) — FOX 17 has confirmed with Zeeland Police Chief Bill Olney that his department was the victim of a so-called “swatting” prank.

Swatting is where someone calls the police reporting a situation that is so urgent that police might respond with a SWAT team. There have been so many swatting incidents involving celebrity homes that the Los Angeles Police Department last week announced it would not issue press releases about the incidents and would not confirm them for fear of generating even more swatting.

In the Zeeland case, someone called the police department directly instead of calling 911, which would have connected them to the Ottawa County Dispatch Center.

Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation in 2012 that beefed up penalties in swatting cases. A federal law against it went into effect in 2010.

Chief Olney told MLive that swatting was no joke, because any time police officers rush to a scene there are risks.

(Gallery of celebrities who were targets of ‘swatting’)

(Reporting by Karie James, FOX 17)