LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bill that would require perpetrators of “swatting” — or false 911 emergencies typically reported at the homes of celebrities — to reimburse police for the cost of responding to the hoaxes has been approved by a state legislative committee.

“Law enforcement wants this bill and, frankly, the public needs this to not only be safer, but protect their taxpayer dollars from being wasted,” Sen. Ted Lieu, who sponsors the bill, said. “Swatting drains vital resources from law enforcement and puts officers and citizens in dangerous situations.”

A number of the victims of false reports of violent crimes have been high-profile Southland residents, reportedly prompting large-scale responses by police.

In April, an assault at the home of record producer and rapper Sean Combs, a shooting at singer Rihanna’s home, shots fired at the home of Justin Timberlake, and a homicide at the home of actress/singer Selena Gomez were all reported.

Thousands of dollars have been spent by the Los Angeles County SHeriff’s Dpeartment, LAPD, and Beverly Hills police department in responding in large numbers to such calls, according to Lieu.

Estimates of the cost per response allegedly range from several thousand to over $10,000.

Already approved by the Senate, the bill will next be reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. No hearing date has been set.

“To those who engage in this dangerous practice, be aware, this is not a game, and you will be held responsible for all associated costs,” Lieu said.

Los Angeles city officials are also working on an ordinance that requires restitution.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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