Emergency dispatchers respond to 9-1-1 prank calls with regulari - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Emergency dispatchers respond to 9-1-1 prank calls with regularity

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Earlier this week local law enforcement came face to face with the issue of prank calls.

"We always encourage parents to teach their children about the proper use of 9–1–1. Obviously, when we receive prank calls we have to take all calls seriously and respond. So that's going to use up dispatch lines," said Lincoln Police Department Officer Angela Sands.

Earlier this week a 9–1–1 call led dispatchers to believe a family member had been shot but the caller didn't disclose the location.

When law enforcement tracked the call to a Lincoln residence, they didn't find the supposed gunshot victim.

Two children, ages 6 and 7, had made the calls without their parents knowing.

"A lot of the nuisance calls that we are getting are children playing with disconnected phones. So we don't actually get a phone number when those come through. It's a phone that we call a 9–1–1 only phone. It's disconnected, can't call anybody else but us," said 9-1-1 Dispatcher Brandi Vilamanta.

Dispatchers say people who openly try to deceive law enforcement for their own entertainment is a problem.

"I've had a couple of instances in my time here where a party was using a computer program to alter their phone number so to us it looked like maybe it was a specific address and they made some comments that there were some very dangerous things going on so we did send a response," said Vilamanta.

The above describes a particular type of prank call called 'swatting.'

It usually ends up with police swarming a residence that is completely unaware of what is going on.

Swatters use smart phone apps that disguise their phone number and location to fool GPS systems into believing they are someone they are not.

Last year, a swatting incident in Kansas left an innocent man dead after a SWAT team responded to a call in which they believed an armed individual was holding hostages.

"We definitely deal with swatting here. And what I would tell you is that dispatchers are tremendous in deterring some of those," said LPD Officer Angela Sands.

Be aware, it is a criminal offense for adults who are found making false reports to emergency services.

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