LA police to withhold info on celeb hoax 911 calls

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police said Thursday that they will no longer routinely issue news releases or offer immediate confirmation on hoax 911 calls targeting the homes of celebrities.

The announcement comes after several high-profile "swatting" incidents in recent months that have sent emergency responders to the homes of celebrities including Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher.

The move is intended to deny the publicity that motivates the prank callers.

"We're going to try to reduce and eliminate their recognition," LAPD spokesman Officer Christopher Ngo said.

The department will not immediately confirm the incidents for news organizations either, police Cmdr. Andy Smith told the Los Angeles Times. Media outlets will instead be required to file formal public records requests.

The term comes from the pranksters' desire to have heavily armed special weapons teams dispatched to their calls.

The calls, sometimes made by children, can tie up resources ranging from dispatchers, patrol officers, detectives helicopters and police dogs.

In December, police arrested a 12-year-old boy suspected of placing swatting calls at numerous homes, including Kutcher's. That call summoned many heavily-armed officers to the house, brought widespread media coverage and prompted the actor to leave the set of his TV show "Two and a Half Men."

The Beverly Hills Police Department estimated more than half of its emergency resources were occupied with the Cruise swatting call on Jan. 17.

A rash of hoaxes aimed at celebrities followed the Cruise call.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Trial Beginning
    Twelve Seattle police officers will begin using new body-worn cameras next week

  • Week in Photos
    Penguins, cheetahs and Santa make it in this week's photos
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.