LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Police are growing increasingly concerned about a situation across local schools.
8 News Now learned Wednesday that someone called 911 and sent a text about a gun at Southeast Career Technical Academy. The incident led to police involvement.
However, it turned out the information that someone had a gun was fake, along with the call for help.
The incident is called “swatting,” when someone makes a false call to 911 or another person about a threat big enough to get a large response to a location.
Swatting has gained national attention for leading to innocent deaths and long jail sentences.
“There have been some very grave results of this,” said Lt. Bryan Zink, the Public Information Officer for Clark County School District Police Department.
Lt. Zink adds that police have already dealt with swatting at a few schools across the valley.
“Depending on the type of call and how fast we can authenticate it, it may take minutes or it may take hours to make sure that it is a fake call and not true at all,” he said.
In addition to taking police officers away from legitimate emergencies, it can also cause extreme emotional distress for families involved.
“Because of cell phones and social media, misinformation like this spreads very quickly cause we know there’s kids inside the school as soon as a lockdown is initiated they start texting their parents,” Lt. Zink tells 8 News Now.
He also adds that police won’t stop investigating the matter and will use assets from the federal government and other agencies.
“We look for certain keywords that are mentioned that have been mentioned in past swatting investigations that we’ve done, or certain phone numbers or area codes or locations where the phone call does come from,” said Lt. Zink.
Now police are encouraging parents to sit down with their kids, talk about the impact this could have on their lives.
“It seems like it’s funny, it’s just a joke, it’s not serious, but it is very serious and it can have dire consequences on your future,” he added.
At this time regarding the Southeast Career Technical Academy incident, CCSD Police and Metro are investigating who made the call and sent the text message.
Currently, there are no federal or state laws against swatting.
In 2019, the Anti-Swatting Act was introduced to Congress to increase penalties, but it has remained in review.