State, federal laws deal with false reports

Police investigate "swatting" incident in Wichita

Swatting was a term that was used by the FBI as early as 2008.  

It is the practice of calling in a fake bomb threat or a false report of a shooting or hostage situation to 911 to get a police and SWAT team response to another person's home or business. 

It has been used for harassment or for a prank.  Swatting has been described as terrorism, and it can be prosecuted under federal law.  There are also state laws that also deal with prank calls or making a false police report.

Kansas law makes some false calls to police a felony that can be punished up to 13 months in prison for a first-time offender. 

Wichita police said the shooting death of a 28-year-old Wichita man by an officer Thursday stemmed from someone making up a false report to get a SWAT team to descend upon a home. The practice is known as ``swatting.'' 

In Kansas, it is a misdemeanor to make a false call for emergency, fire or police services. It's a felony to use an electronic device or software to conceal the caller's identity. 

It's a more severe felony if the call falsely claims to be about violent crime or an immediate danger to a person. While a 13-month prison sentence is possible, the presumed sentence is probation. 

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