HELENA — Multiple fake reports of violence were made regarding Montana schools Friday, including a false threat in Helena.
Helena Public Schools informed parents that Helena Police received a “swatting” call Friday morning regarding Capital High which law enforcement determined was “non-credible."
A second call, which police have also determined to be “non-credible," was made directly to Four Georgians Elementary School this afternoon.
"I want every parent and staff member to know that the safety of our students and staff is my absolute priority. We are working closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation locally and statewide, and have robust security and established emergency response protocols that will be implemented should law enforcement direct us to do so," said Superintendent Rex Weltz in a message to parents.
Law enforcement in Billings, Colstrip, Forsyth, Manhattan, Miles City, Red Lodge, Missoula and Cascade, Meagher and Madison counties also investigated similar threats Friday morning and found no evidence the threats were credible.
“This is likely an orchestrated hoax tactic called swatting,” Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Bryan Lockerby said. “We are assisting with the coordination of these incoming threats to further the investigation and identify the source of the calls.”
Similar series of hoax calls have also been reported recently in other states including South Dakota and Oklahoma.
“Swatting” is a criminal harassment tactic where someone deceives law enforcement into responding to a particular address with a large number of armed police officers. The act can lead to dangerous situations when police think there is an active threat. It also takes law enforcement and other emergency personnel away from responding to other situations where they are actually needed.