Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) applauded the state Senate’s passage of a bill that will make “swatting” a felony in Connecticut.
“Swatting” is falsely reporting an emergency in an attempt to get law enforcement to dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular location.
Sen. Witkos, a retired police officer, proposed the bill to deter people from making false reports that could distract law enforcement from their public safety duties and put people in danger. Such false reports also result in excessive costs putting unfounded strain on police departments.
“By making swatting a felony we can deter people from engaging in these dangerous and costly pranks. It’s sad that we even need a law to clarify that this behavior creating unwarranted distress is completely unacceptable. I thank all lawmakers who came together in a bipartisan effort to stand firm on this important public safety issue.”
Sen. Witkos decided to propose this bill after a swatting incident occurred in July in Torrington at Burr Pond when a person called 9-1-1 to report a potential child drowning. After dispatching over 40 police officers and firefighters and multiple hours of searching, it was discovered that the call was a hoax.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives. A vote must be held before the end of the legislative session on June 7 before the bill can become law.