By Walter J. O’Neill
Thirty-seven minutes after police responded to a call on Wednesday afternoon, the officers could be seen walking back to their vehicles and securing their automatic rifles. Police did say that the area was clear and it appeared to be unfounded. One officer stated that it was most likely a SWATTING incident. (Swatting is where an anonymous call is made to police about an incident involving a shooting or violent situation. The prank call is designed to illicit a fast response by law enforcement with their special weapons and tactics.)
Just before, sirens had been blaring as at least a dozen Long Branch Police Department marked vehicles along with officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office swarmed the area of Norwood Ave. and Tabor Street around 3:00 in the afternoon.
According to unofficial reports, the initial call was a shooting in the area and the suspect was at large. The quick response by law enforcement had several roads in the area blocked off while police began working on the possibility of a domestic dispute.
When law enforcement responds to such calls it carries a very high risk of danger, as officers are thinking of a violent situation. Swatting causes tax dollars to be wasted by responding agencies. Most cases, if the offender is identified, they are subject to stiff fines and imprisonment.