Park police: ‘Swatting’ prank poses threat for social media gain

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 10:34 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A number of fake calls trickled into the Rockford Park District police 9-1-1 center this weekend, distracting law enforcement from their availability for emergency calls. This dangerous prank known as “swatting” refers to someone calling 9-1-1 to draw a response from law enforcement for social media gain.

Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2, a call came in regarding an alleged drug deal at Talcott-Page Memorial Park, 1128 Russell Avenue. Rockford Park District police responded to the area, but the vehicle that matched the description given to dispatchers had already left the park.

Another call came in roughly 30 minutes later regarding someone selling drugs out of a similar vehicle at Levings Lake Park, 1420 S. Pierpont Avenue. Then around 3 p.m., Rockford Park District police received a third fake 9-1-1 call from the same number and same voice as the previous calls.

During an investigation, Rockford Park District police charged Jovawn Reynolds, 21, for allegedly making intentional fake 9-1-1 calls. Investigators believe Reynolds waited for police to arrive to capture their response on video for social media.

Reynolds faces false alarm/complaint to 9-1-1 charges as well as traffic violations. Law enforcement reminds community members that fake calls to 9-1-1 are a criminal offense that puts officers and unsuspecting targets at risk.

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