ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Jovawn Reynolds, 21, has been charged with making numerous fake calls to 911 in a “swatting” incident.
According to the Rockford Park District Police, the 911 center received multiple prank calls on Saturday, July 2nd, from someone claiming a drug deal was happening at Talcott-Page Memorial Park, at 1128 Russell Avenue.
“It just puts everyone in danger,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney J Hanley. “It puts people in danger who have a real reason to need emergencies services.”
Park District Police responded to the scene at 1:26 p.m. but the vehicle that had been described had already left the park.
At 1:52 p.m. another call came in claiming the vehicle was involved in a drug deal taking place at Levings Lake, at 1420 S. Pierpont Avenue.
Park District officers arrived and located the car parked near the boathouse, police said. When officers approached, the car left and turned onto S. Pierpont, before turning into the Standfield Beach lot.
Police said the driver behaved erratically, pulling into a parking spot and then out again while officers gave him commands to stop. Officials said the driver, who was wearing a full ski mask, refused to comply with verbal directions. Police said the driver cracked his window and was recording them with his cell phone.
Chief Theo Glover arrived at the scene and he, along with three other officers, approached the vehicle with weapons drawn until it was determined that the driver was not a threat, police said in a statement. At that point, police said they holstered their weapons and were able to search the vehicle, but no drugs were found.
At 3 p.m., a third fake 911 call was received, from the same phone number.
Reynolds was identified as the suspect. Police discovered he had been making fake 911 calls and then waiting for police to arrive and record their response on video for use on social media.
Hanley said that calling 911 when there is no emergency is dangerous.
“They’re at a information deficit, they think there is an actual emergency, they think someone needs help or they’re going to investigate a crime, and it’s really all a sham setup by the person who called 911,” Hanley said.
He was charged with False Alarm/Complaint to 911, and citations for an obscured license plate and failure to stop.
“I think the message from our office is there are consequences and that we will investigate, and if appropriate we’ll charge you, and that can have real serious consequences whether you are an adult or a child,” Hanley said.
Hanley went on to say that calling in fake scenarios means that people who really need first responders may not get what they need.
“Think about the community when you make a call,” Hanley said. “It’s not just about the police showing up for your false alarm, it’s that they’re not able to show up to other real emergencies.”
Police said Tuesday there is a warrant out for Reynolds’ arrest. Any copycat who thinks this is cool to do should remember the consequences and how they could be charged with a felony that will stay on their record, Hanley said.