Iowa school districts have been the target of several "swatting calls" referencing an alleged active shooter on or near the schools' campus. Officials estimate that approximately 30 calls were received by local law enforcement agencies.
A “swatting call” refers to a false claim intended to trigger an immediate and widespread law enforcement deployment or emergency service response to a specific location. Hoax reports such as the ones experienced today commonly consist of claims of serious violent attacks, such as a bomb threat, active shooter and/or a hostage situation. Swatting has also been used as an intimidation tactic against individuals and businesses.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan K. Bayens said these false reports are a tactic intended to illicit a large-scale law enforcement response. Immediately after receiving these calls, local law enforcement and school officials reported all relevant information. Bayens said this proactive information sharing allows schools and law enforcement to better determine their response protocols should one of their schools receive a similar call.