Hoax threats disrupt school, waste law enforcement resources, and put first responders in unnecessary danger while causing emotional distress to entire communities, including students, school personnel, and parents. It's also a serious federal crime. Those who post or send these threats can receive time in federal prison and could also face state or local charges.
Maine is the latest state to fall victim to a wave of “swatting” incidents, with multiple communities today feeling the fear that has been shared by so many across the country. Every report of an active shooter is taken seriously by law enforcement at all levels. Today was no different, and I commend the local, state, and federal law enforcement for their swift action and coordinated response.
We know all too well that school shootings happen. From Columbine, to Sandy Hook, to Parkland, to Uvalde, to far too many others, past tragedies are engrained in our collective memories. We know that a similar tragedy could happen anywhere – even here in Maine. An unfortunate consequence of hoaxes like today’s is that false reports can make people question the validity of future threats. It is vital that we all remain vigilant. If you see or hear something, notify authorities to give them the opportunity to investigate but avoid spreading unsubstantiated rumors which can spread misinformation and cause panic.
Darcie N. McElwee was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the District of Maine October 8, 2021. U.S. Attorney McElwee was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on August 10, 2021, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 5, 2021.