Among the slew of bills passed this week by the Legislature and on way to the governor is one to crack down on the dangerous prank known as “swatting” -- making a false 911 call with the intention of drawing out heavily armed SWAT teams, often to the homes of celebrities.
Under the bill by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), those convicted of the offense would be responsible for the full cost of the police response, which would typically run more than $10,000.
“Swatting drains vital resources from law enforcement and puts officers and citizens in dangerous situations,” Lieu said. “To those who engage in this dangerous practice, be aware this is not a game and you will be held responsible for all associated costs.”
Earlier this year, someone called police with a false report of domestic violence and a possible shooting at the Hollywood Hills home of singer Chris Brown, who was not there at the time. There also was a false report of shots fired at the home of actor Tom Cruise, prompting a Beverly Hills police SWAT team to surround the home.
Others believed to have been targets of swatting incidents in the last year include singer Justin Bieber, actor Ashton Kutcher, "The X Factor" judge Simon Cowell, singer Miley Cyrus and the Kardashian-Jenner family.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca asked for the measure.