Missouri lawmaker introduces bill to combat swatting - KCTV5 News

Missouri lawmaker introduces bill to combat swatting

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Now, Missouri lawmakers want people to spend time in prison for making a prank call to police that results in injury or death. (CBS) Now, Missouri lawmakers want people to spend time in prison for making a prank call to police that results in injury or death. (CBS)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A Missouri lawmaker is hoping to crack down on phony 911 calls throughout the state.

The lawmaker has come up with a plan, after hearing about a deadly call in Wichita, KS.

In recent years, a prank known as "swatting," has been on the rise.

Swatting is when someone calls a police department to report an emergency such as a hostage situation at a victim's house. The report causes police to send a SWAT team to the location.

The practice took a deadly turn on Dec. 28 in Wichita, when police shot and killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch at his home. The man who made the call now faces manslaughter charges.

Now, Missouri lawmakers want people to spend time in prison for making a prank call to police that results in injury or death.

State Representative Bill Kidd, of Independence, recently filed legislation that would hold pranksters civilly and criminally liable if they make a call resulting in an emergency response. The bill also makes the prankster responsible for any damage resulting from the response, such as a SWAT team breaking down a door.

"Imagine the mental anguish on the officer in Wichita who came to the door. He thought he was going to save a life. He's in there, he's putting his life on the line and he tragically shoots an innocent, the innocent owner of the home,” Kidd said. “Think of the psychological impact that that has on that whole SWAT team."

An Overland Park, KS, man was a recent victim of a similar prank, though no one was hurt in the incident.

In 2015, a Connecticut man was sentenced to one year in federal prison for a series of swatting incidents, and in 2014, a Nebraska man received a five-year sentence for swatting incidents.

"This is not a joke. People have died," Kidd said. "We want to make sure that everyone understands if you do this, you are going to suffer the consequences,"

In both Kansas and Missouri, making a false report to police is a misdemeanor. In Missouri, the crime carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“I think it’s sad that people have to get their kicks out of ruining people’s lives,” Kidd added.

Kidd says House leadership has not yet given his bill a committee assignment. But, he says he does have the support of Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot.

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