Swatting calls aren’t funny, so the penalties shouldn’t be laughable, Kansas police say

The 911 call, if it had been true, laid out a most harrowing situation for Overland Park police Monday morning.

A man had shot his wife and he would shoot any police who came to his house. Other family members were inside.

Suddenly, police engaged in two simultaneous races:

One was to rush special police forces toward the threatened house. The other was to scramble for phone numbers and get someone on the line — the alleged shooter, the alleged victim, or anyone inside.

Police were aware this call could be an act of “swatting,” Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy said, meaning it could be a dangerous prank call to unleash a SWAT team on an unsuspecting home and neighborhood.

The practice is infuriating both law enforcement and lawmakers enough to spark a push for tougher laws to combat false reports to police. Police reached the supposedly dead wife on her phone at work, Lacy said. And then they reached the husband who, like his wife, had no idea anything was going on.

Anger and frustration followed. The family was distraught that someone had tried the dangerous prank. Police were frustrated that so many resources had to be deployed into a situation that can put both the victims and police in peril.

The swatting incident was the worst of two false calls to Overland Park police over the weekend.

(Read more: KC Star Local News)