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New Legislation For Swatting Calls

The rise in Swatting calls is being met with legal resistance from local lawmakers.

Lawmakers say this legislation aims to hold people accountable in multiple new ways who decide to make Swatting calls

This is when someone calls in a fake emergency aimed at drawing the response of a swat team.

State lawmakers are responding to swatting calls with legal action.

Swatting incidents in our region include back in March of 2023, when fake calls prompted law enforcement responses at multiple school districts, including Altoona, Bellefonte, and Bishop Carroll.

Authorities say these calls affected the availability for responders to address other emergencies.

“It’s an immense reaction for obvious reasons. So, anything we can do to prevent and further punish this type of activity is absolutely a step in the right direction.”

“There was a tremendous turnout. And as you can imagine, in a moment like that, people’s anxiety, adrenaline, and responsiveness is really charged and high. It puts people in danger.”

Representatives say they’re introducing a series of bills.

Proposed legislation includes making it a felony, if someone ends up injured as a result of a Swatting call

Giving Swatting victims a cause of action against the alleged Swatting suspect. Allowing courts to order the alleged suspect to pay the costs sustained by municipalities for the Swatting incident

And, giving civil immunity to law enforcement responding to such incidents, which is being worked on by local State Representative, Jim Rigby.

“It comes to a point where you need to know that person is safe, and we break down the door and go do what we need to do, to find out that it’s just a prank call, a Swatting call.”

“This allows us to do our jobs, protect the community, and not have to worry about a lawsuit on the back end.”

Rigby says the legislation is currently collecting signatures

He says it will then go to a committee, and then to judges for final approval.


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