Robert Kovacik, Rodney Danson
In the wake of several emergency calls to celebrities homes which turned out to be fake, the LAPD is changing how it deals with people who prompt the so-called "swatting" response. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2013.
After a string of emergency calls to celebrities’ homes which turned out to be fake, the Los Angeles police department is changing how it deals with people who prompt the so-called “swatting,” when swarms of SWAT officers descend on a home.
The LAPD on Monday responded to a report of domestic violence and a possible shooting at the home of singer Chris Brown, but it was a hoax. And last Friday, police received a call about a possible shooting at the home of Kim Kardashian's mother, Kris Jenner. A SWAT team and three helicopters responded, but the 911 call was bogus.
"You're really hurting our city," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said, referring to the so-called swatters.
The LAPD told NBC4 Southern California they are getting savvier about swatters and more serious about the consequences.
The department will ask the city attorney to pursue felony charges. And because calling out several officers, paramedics and airships to non-emergencies adds up, they’ll also seek compensation from swatters.
"Depending how long that incident continues, you could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Neiman said.
The LAPD is still going to be there when needed, so even if the calls turn out to be fake, they’ll treat every report with the same urgency.
"Our response is no different," Neiman said.
But celebrity swatters are on now on notice.
"They could be sitting behind, jail for a very long time," Neiman said, "if, tragically, somebody is seriously hurt or killed as a result of a swatting incident."