Albany County sheriff speaks about swatting response

The school days at 14 more local districts have been upended by hoaxes.

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“But it’s very dangerous to the general public, because you’ve got police, fire, and EMS responding to all parts of that locality, lights and sirens on, going as fast as they can to get there because they think something is going on in the school, only to find out that it was a hoax by some coward sitting home with his keyboard,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

School staff, students and police have trained for emergencies.

There was an emergency call last week that was all too real in Nashville. An active shooter took the lives of three 9-year-olds and three adults.

Also last week, 36 school districts in New York state alone were swatted on just one day.

“It’s kind of sad that they’re doing this on the heels of Nashville,” said the sheriff. “It ebbs and flows. You get anxiety levels go through the roof when a shooting happens. And I’ll be totally transparent. I always say not if, it’s when. When, right? So let’s train for it now.”

Some of the threats mentioned an active shooter– some, a bomb.

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“Well then, we’ve got to get our explosive K-9s down, we’ve still got to evacuate the school, search the school, search lockers, everything, try to make it safe. But again, that’s a whole different resource that we’re bringing in now, bringing in all the bomb dogs. It’s illogical to think that one dog is going to search a whole school, so we need a team,” Sheriff Apple said.

These latest threats affected more than 50 districts across New York Tuesday.

Each threat is met with a real response.

“We don’t think it’s a hoax,” said Apple. “We respond like it’s not a hoax, and we pray to God it is a hoax. The problem is that it’s complacency that gets people killed, so we have to treat every one like it’s the real thing. Get there as quickly as possible and assess, and hopefully there’s no threat. We can’t treat them like they’re a hoax and lollygag and get there and come to find out we have an active shooter in the hallways.”