COSTLY HOAX: The Price Of A Prank On Police

SWAT team, snipers, and negotiators were all under the impression a man had shot his own mother and had explosives inside his home.

It happened shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday night. Des Moines police were called to the 3900 block of 54th street.

It didn’t take long for officers to realize they had been pranked.

“There were two officers right there, three over there, and a lot over there,” said Ah Doh, a neighbor.

“It was terrifying to put it mildly,” said Marvel Rodbush.

Law enforcement spent about three hours at the scene making sure no one was in danger.

Meanwhile, other calls didn’t stop coming into the dispatch center.

In those three hours, 53 calls came in including four for domestic disputes, four fights, three thefts, and a burglary.

With approximately thirty officers at the scene, it is likely response time was slowed.

“We can’t respond to those lower priority calls as fast as we could if we were at full manpower for the evening,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax, public information officer for the Des Moines Police Department.

An emergency response isn’t cheap.

According to Sgt. Halifax, many of the officers forced to respond were working overtime and must be paid for at least three hours no matter how long they’re out there.

Thirty officers, for three hours, at roughly $30 dollars per hour equals $2,700 dollars just in personnel alone.

The next step is investigating who is responsible.

In October, Clive police were the victims of a swatting incident.

“We thought a homicide had taken place, and we were trying to save lives,” said Michael Venema, Chief of Police for the Clive Police Department.

Eight months later, they still don’t have any suspects.

“Every door we went through lead to another door and eventually, the trail ran cold. We were unable to identify who made that original call,” Venema told Channel 13 News.