“Swatting” is the term used when someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime – often involving killing or hostages – in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to an address. Swatting has gained traction across the country with online gamers.
Prank phone calls to the police are nothing new. As a young Virginian they were common to my high school and college, where the more convincing calls resulted in shutting down school and police arriving with the necessary means to respond to such a threat should it prove to be true. Some calls were true, and yet all were resolved without a shot fired. I credit the training and level-headedness of the officers responding.
What is new is the lack of training and capacity for police to recognize and appropriately respond to false threats. On this page I am not really calling for new methods but rather old-school training that is largely disappearing from today’s police force. Threat assessment, de-escalation, shoot-to-wound, and dialogue are not new concepts. They are old, well-documented and proven. Old-school, conservative training and response are very much aligned with the path of love. I call on the old-timers to shake off their weariness and share their wisdom. We all have a part to play in the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Sheriff of Love