Prank call sends close to 20 police officers to Southwest Portland home – OregonLive.com
A prank call sent a large number of Portland police officers to a Southwest Portland home late Friday night.
Central Precinct officers responded to a home in the 11200 block of Southwest Capitol Highway around midnight after receiving reports that an armed man was holding residents hostage inside.
As officers were developing a plan to contact residents, they learned that the call was probably a hoax. They later confirmed that everyone inside the home was safe.
A Twitter user who goes by Grace Lynn says the hoax, called a “swatting,” was intended for her. A forum on the website 8chan described the plan to “swat” her. Police Sgt. Pete Simpson confirmed the bureau did receive a phone call suggesting the original call was a prank.
“The whole swatting term came from people calling to get a SWAT team to go out on a call,” Simpson said. “But that’s not how we operate. Patrol officers are going to go assess a scene based on what they see. We don’t roll out a SWAT team just because someone calls 911. We need more than a phone call.”
Simpson said Portland’s SWAT team was not consulted Friday night, but that about 20 officers did respond to the report.
“You’re taking away resources that might be needed for someone who has a real emergency,” Simpson said.
Lynn, who says she lives in California now, wrote about her experience on Twitter:
Simpson said the bureau has encountered one or two other “swatting” attempts but that such prank calls won’t be successful here.
“It’s not going to result in the prank playing out the way the prankster wanted it to,” Simpson said. “But it does create significant risk to the public and significant risk to officers responding. And the prankster can face state and federal charges.”
Improper Use of an Emergency Reporting System is a crime in Oregon, and investigators say they will work to identity the caller and make an arrest.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to email it to [email protected]
— Casey Parks