Emergency vehicles stood at the ready outside Trenton Fire Station 1 on Monday afternoon as Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill designed to prevent an Internet based crime called "swatting."
"Swatting" is a crime in which a person uses the Internet to report a serious crime or medical emergency in progress using "spoofing" technology, so that the report appears to be originating from another address, according to Anna Heaton of the House Majority Communications department for the Michigan House of Representatives.
"I really want to say thank you to all of our first responders for being on the front lines and for everything you do," Snyder said to several Trenton and Grosse Ile firefighters and police officers who attended the signing.
Snyder said the legislation was important because false reports can put people such as first responders and others the community at risk.
"This is just good, smart legislation," Snyder said. "There should be consequences."
Snyder said the term "swatting" comes from the fact that those people making false reports are, literally, trying to get the SWAT team to respond to the report.
State Rep. Pat Somerville (R-Huron Twp.), who also attended the signing, was one of the driving forces behind one part of the three-part bill.
House bills 5432 and 5431 create new felonies for the false reports and allow local governments to be reimbursed for the expensive actions taken after the false report is made.
"Our local municipalities can't afford to be going out and responding to the claims," Somerville said. "These people need to be punished for what they're doing."
Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack was just a few of the many city officials who attended the event.
Stack said she was glad Snyder chose Trenton as the venue for the bill signing.
"It's always a positive thing when a governor can come down (to Trenton)," Stack said. "He knows where we are on the map now, so it's a good thing."