Fake call led to shutdown of major highway in Dodge County - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Fake call led to shutdown of major highway in Dodge County

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Juneau (WKOW) -- The Dodge County sheriff is asking for help from state investigators, and may ask for federal resources, to find the person responsible for a prank call that shut down Highway 151 late Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff Dale Schmidt called a news conference Thursday night to explain the large police response along a stretch of the highway, and he confirmed it was a case of swatting. That's when someone makes a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to create the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

In this case, Sheriff Schmidt said someone placed a call around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, and that person said they had shot someone and taken a hostage. The address given to authorities was a home near Highway 151 between Beaver Dam and Columbus.

There was a large police response, including a SWAT team. That team made contact with the homeowner and learned no shooting had taken place there and there were no hostages. 

"It's extremely frustrating for law enforcement," Schmidt said at the news conference, adding that diverting resources due to prank calls could potentially endanger others in the county who might need an emergency response from his office.

"The message that I would like to put out to the public and for those who would like to perpetrate these types of event is that these are dangerous types of incidents. they will not be tolerated and we will pursue and prosecute anybody involved in any type of incident like this in the future, including today's event," Schmidt said.

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