June 12, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

LCSO Message of the Week from Chief Deputy Brantingham: June 7, 2024

Message of the Week 06/07/2024

The Summer Edition of the Fernley City Newsletter contained some basic information from the Sheriff’s Office on a dangerous trend we have seen nationwide called “SWATTING”. The message of the week this week will expand on the information contained in that article and is written by Chief Deputy Brantingham.

Recently, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office responded to a high priority call for service regarding a murder and explosive devices. Through our investigation, it was determined to be what has come to be known as “Swatting”. Swatting is the practice of a reporting party making a false call to a dispatch center with the intent to create a major incident where one never existed. The callers use masking technology to hide or alter their phone numbers when making the report. The caller will report a heinous crime to dispatch, such as a hostage situation, murder, or ongoing killing, and then monitor the scanners to measure Law Enforcement, EMS, and Fire response. In some instances, the callers are playing a game where points are awarded for different levels of response. In other instances, it is a highly inappropriate prank. In all instances, Swatting is a major waste of resources, which under the wrong circumstances can have dangerous consequences for the involved responders and bystanders.

Swatting calls occur in our communities several times per year. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office takes these incidents very seriously and investigates them to the fullest extent possible. These crimes are exceedingly difficult to solve due to the high level of technology involved and the remote location from which the calls often come. It is also not uncommon for the calls to come from outside the United States.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are the victim of swatting, it is crucial to stay calm and follow the directions of responding emergency personnel. Keep your hands free of items and in a visible location at all times. Avoid making sudden movements and provide responders with all of the information you have regarding the situation. It is not uncommon for these incidents to happen during the night when visibility is at its worst. Responders will often use high intensity lights to create a clear view of the resident’s occupants. Stay in the light and make yourself as visible as possible. If you are in a low light area or place where responders may not see you, move toward the light and make yourself known verbally.

Responders will attempt to contact you by phone in the event of a Swatting type report at your residence. These calls may come from a county phone number or they may be from a blocked cell phone line. Answering these calls and working with the responders can end these calls before they even really begin.

Following these tips can ensure a smooth and fast investigation to mitigate the effects Swatting has on our community.

I look forward to seeing you in the field.

Chief Deputy Mitch Brantingham