On December 28th 2017 Tyler Barris of South Los Angeles California, made a prank call to 911 stating he allegedly shot his father, was holding the rest of his family hostage, and he was thinking about setting the house on fire. The call came into 911 dispatch in Wichataw Kansas, and Barris repeatedly gave his alleged home address which actually belonged to Andrew Finch and his family. Once at the home, officers surrounded the front of the house and ordered Finch to put his hands up which he did for a short time, but then lowered them again. This is when an officer, thinking Finch was reaching for a gun, fired one shot striking him. Sadly Andrew Finch was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Barriss and Finch did not know one another, but while playing an online video game Barriss became angry and decided to pull a prank called swatting. This type of prank involves reporting false criminal activity to 911 to create a SWAT response. Barriss reportedly has a history of this kind of behavior, including a bomb threat, for which he was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail.
According to the Associated Press there are roughly 400 cases of swatting that occur nationwide every year. In these instances gamers are able to call from one location, but make it seem as if they are elsewhere. The 911 dispatcher has no way to determine that the caller is not actually who they say they are, or where they are calling from. This is where the disconnect comes in that allows for these type of instances to occur. Dispatch receives false information, that in turn has them relaying false information, which leads to chaotic situations that unfortunately have the potential to turn deadly.
With the face to face communication of Justifeyed, seeing the caller and the situation can make all the difference in these type of instances. Using only the cell tower nearest to where the call is made can eliminate the opportunity for swatting. We need to use today's technology for our 911 system, to make it harder for pranks such as swatting to occur. We need our legislators and government officials to be made more aware of pranks like these, and start paying attention to the solution to combat it. Justifeyed can be part of that solution using today's technology of face to face communication with emergency dispatchers. They are the heartbeat of the system so it needs to start with them. Our government officials need to step up and play their part in seeing the true potential of Justifeyed. Change isn't coming, it's already here, we just need to come together to implement it.
You can be part of the change by sharing Justifeyed with your local government officials and asking them, "why not Justifeyed ?"