COOPERSVILLE, MI – Authorities in Ottawa County are searching for a person who may have information that they need following a possible ‘swatting’ incident at Coopersville Schools.
Those unfamiliar with Swatting need to be aware. Swatting is the tricking of any emergency service (via such as a 9-1-1 dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response based on the false report of an on-going critical incident.
Episodes range from large to small, from the deployment of bomb squads, SWAT units and other police units and the concurrent evacuations of schools and businesses to a single fabricated police report meant to discredit an individual as a prank or personal vendetta.
While it is a misdemeanor or a felony in the USA in and of itself to report any untruth to law enforcement, swatting can cause massive disruption to the civil order and the public peace by the hoaxed deployment of police and other civic resources such as ambulances and fire departments.
The term derives from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), a highly specialized type of police unit.
As was released yesterday the threatening call came in to the OCCDA dispatch center at 2:54 p.m. on 9-4-14. The suspect claimed he was on a cell phone near the school, however his phone number was not displayed. He did give dispatchers a first name although this undisclosed name could not be confirmed. As you know the entire area was check and no threats could be found.
Earlier on yesterday’s date 9-4-14 at approximately 6:40 a.m. a middle aged male came to the Coopersville High School Office and advised that he wished to see a student. He had a first name only and was told that the school could not accommodate his request and was turned away. Oddly enough the first name given by the gentleman, and the first name used by the suspect caller are the same.
At this point in the investigation, it is possible this is a “Swatting” type call. Detectives have intercepted “twitter” messages that would indicate that the suspect, who has claimed responsibility may have been out of state or out of the country.
Investigators need public assistance in identifying the gentleman who is in the photos attached to this release. Detectives do not believe the man in these photos is a suspect, but may be an unwitting part of this possible “swatting” incident.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Staff, Students, and Parents for their assistance and understanding during this investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT or http://www.mosotips.com