Published Saturday, April 6, 2016
Law enforcement calls it â€œswatting.â€
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said the prank â€” which, make no mistake, is a crime â€” involves calling 911 to report a false emergency that results in an immediate response from law enforcement and medical personnel.
The prank grabbed the attention of law enforcement recently when deputies responded at 2:50 a.m. March 8 to the 600 block of LaSalle Drive in LaPlace following a 911 call of gunshots and a male bleeding from the chest in a backyard.
Deputies determined the report was false, as the female homeowner and several juveniles inside the home were unaware of any of the complaints reported to 911.
Unfortunately for law enforcement, March 8’s false alarm came two days after responding to the same residence to assist a woman having a heart attack.
In the March 6 case, officers also discovered the report to be false.
These calls reporting false complaints are taken seriously and fully investigated.
Tregre said an investigation identified a suspect in the prank calls, which led to a March 9 arrest for two counts of filing a false report.
The suspect was released March 19 after posting a $1,000 bond.
You would think it goes without saying that a woman suffering from a heart attack or a man laying in the street with a gunshot wound are incidents no one should joke about, but sadly, that is not the case.
We encourage anyone who knows of those in the community who routinely participate in â€œswattingâ€ to alert authorities to their presence. We also ask, if found guilty, these offenders receive more than a slap on the wrist.
Our first responders’ time is precious; there are already enough real emergencies in St. John Parish.