Orland Park police, District 230 continue to investigate Feb. 10 Sandburg swatting call

Carl Sandburg High School was under a lockdown earlier this month because of a swatting call, Orland Park police said Monday.

Swatting is when police officials receive a false report of a crime to elicit a large-scale law enforcement, or SWAT team, response, according to an Orland Park village news release.

At 1:40 p.m. Feb. 10, Sandburg High School went into a hard lockdown after Orland Park police received a call from someone who reported that two students planned “to do harm to the school,” according to the news release.

Within minutes, police said, the on-site school resource officer and nearly two dozen officers entered the school, said Orland Park police Cmdr. Ken Rosinski in the news release.

“Our teams advanced throughout the campus, while other officers were investigating the phone call, and found no evidence of any threat,” Rosinski said.

The school was placed under a soft lockdown as officers swept the campus, according to the news release. Police determined the campus was safe and secure, and the whole incident lasted about 45 minutes.

Students were dismissed from school at the standard 3 p.m. release time that day, according to the news release.

Rosinski said Monday a hard lockdown means that no one is allowed into or out of the school and students and staff are locked inside the classrooms. A soft lockdown, Rosinski said, is when students and staff are allowed to move about, but no one is allowed to enter or leave the building.

Ultimately, police traced the call to a lost phone, which registered to a cell tower on the outskirts of the district, according to the news release.

Rosinski said the case is still under investigation as police follow up with more leads connected to the case.

“We’re still trying to chase some leads, so it’s not a closed case. It’s still under investigation,” Rosinski said.

While the phone and the call aren’t connected to the school, police have to respond appropriately to such calls because in an emergency every second counts, the release states.

Similar swatting calls were made recently to Wheaton North High School and several schools in Colorado, according to the news release.

“These threats are a crime and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law,” Rosinski said.

After the incident, the school used its late start schedule to give students and staff time to process the event through staff meetings and an advisory period at the start of the school day, police said.

Additional police officers were on campus at the start of the following school day, as well as therapy dogs, counselors and social workers available to provide support.

Sandburg Principal Derrick Smith said he was pleased with how police and the school community responded to this threat, according to the release. Transparency and communication were key between the school and law enforcement agencies, Smith said.