People convicted of calling authorities with false reports to get SWAT teams called to the scene could get up to 10 years in prison under a bill in New Jersey.
The Assembly’s Homeland Security panel voted 3-0 to move the swatting measure to the full Assembly.
The bill sponsor is Paul Moriarty, a Democratic assemblyman from Gloucester County’s Washington Township, NJ.
When a police department sends most or all of its officers to a hostage situation or report, he said, it means no one is patrolling the rest of the community.
Moriarty said upgrading the penalty for certain false alarm convictions would make it far more likely the suspects would get prison sentences.
"Swatting has been getting more attention in recent years, but it’s not clear how many states are responding to it with legislation," said CBS Philly. "The National Conference of State Legislatures says it’s not tracking it. One law was passed in California in 2013 that requires those convicted of swatting to reimburse authorities for the resources used — something that is also part of the New Jersey proposal."