DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – School safety experts said fake threats have been a troubling trend for years. Law enforcement has to respond to every call for an active shooter threat the same, even if the call is a hoax.
Educator’s School Safety Network co-founder Amy Klinger said school threats are quite common.
“Every school should assume at some point they’re going to be facing a threat or an investigation of a threat,” Klinger said.
Klinger said usually these calls have common threads, starting with the perpetrator.
“Sometimes it’s a student from within the organization, which often times is the case, but oftentimes it’s also somebody outside the disgruntled parent or employee or someone with no connection who is just desiring that kind of attention and chaos,” Klinger said.
Director of Criminal Justice at Cedarville University Dr. Patrick Oliver said police and districts have dealt with fake threats for decades.
Oliver said usually they increase after an active shooter event, like the school shooting in Uvalde.
Oliver said hoax calls are copy cat crimes.
“People know that there is a great concern in law enforcement today about school shootings and active shooters, and so because of the anxiety in our world and among law enforcement, people feel like they need to put law enforcement on alert,” Oliver said. “That’s their source of entertainment, unfortunately.”
Former FBI agent Harry Trombitas said an active shooter call is the highest level of incident police face.
Trombitas said calling in a fake active threat, also called swatting, can be a federal offense.
“It is about the stupidest crime that you could commit,” Trombitas said.
Trombitas said tracking down the caller depends on the situation, but investigators can track back anonymous calls with technology.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re able to hold the person or persons responsible for this accountable very quickly,” Trombitas said.
Trombitas said not only will investigators track calls, they’ll do interviews in the schools to see if there is a connection within the district.