Snyder signs law targeting bogus emergency calls - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Snyder signs law targeting bogus emergency calls

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By Robin Schwartz
FOX 2 News Detroit

TRENTON, Mich. -- Trenton Fire rolled on an emergency call Monday a short time after Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law designed to prevent fake 911 calls.

The governor did the honors at the Trenton Fire Department with first responders looking on.

"I view this as just good, solid, common sense legislation to say there should be a penalty for a false claim.  There should be consequences," said Snyder.

The law creates new felonies and allows local governments to be reimbursed for the cost of bogus runs, which can add up to thousands of dollars.

Trenton's fire chief couldn't give us specific numbers, but he said false calls tend to happen more often during the school year and they're a waste of precious resources, especially in these times of tight budgets and staffing cuts.

"When a call's called into us now, we empty out our entire station.  So if it is a false call, there's nobody left back to protect the citizens," said Trenton Fire Chief Bruce Vick.

"People need to realize that when they place an emergency call for our services, these officers, they jump in their car, or these firemen, they jump in their rigs, their ambulances or their fire trucks, and they're risking their life on the way to that call," said Steve Voss from the Trenton Police Department.

The governor said the legislation is needed because of an alarming new trend where phony calls, which are difficult to trace, are made over the Internet.

"There's actually a term they use, which is a very troubling term.  They call it SWATing where literally they try to make a call where they call out the SWAT team," Snyder explained.

Under the new law, culprits can now face hefty fines and jail time for bogus reports.  If someone's killed during an emergency response, it's a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in jail.

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