MACo: “Swatting” Weaponizes 9-1-1, Endangers Public Safety

On January 19, 2022, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 57 Criminal Law – Public Safety – Communications With Public Safety Answering Points. By strengthening state laws to protect 9-1-1 centers from malicious attacks and dangerous swatting incidents, SB 57 would enhance public safety in Maryland and our local communities.

From the MACo testimony

SB 57 generally prohibits any actions that intend to interrupt or impair the functioning of a 9-1 center. Additionally, the bill expressly prohibits “swatting,” where an individual places a phony 9 1-1 call, often alleging a hostage situation or other serious circumstances, with the intention of dispatching law enforcement personnel to an address where no emergency exists. By weaponizing 9-1-1, swatting places first responders and civilians in danger, and drains limited public safety resources.

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