AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
A group of police officers search outside El Camino Real High School in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011.
Former Los Angeles school police officer Jeff Stenroos has been sentenced to five years in jail for faking his own shooting — a hoax that sparked a 10-hour search and kept thousands of students locked in their classrooms.
A judge on Wednesday also sentenced Stenroos to serve 400 hours of community service.
Stenroos could have three years shaved from his sentence if he meets the terms of his probation.
The 8-year police force veteran had claimed to have been shot in the chest after trying to stop a man from breaking into parked cars. The bulletproof vest he was wearing did indeed have a bullet embedded in it.
The report quickly prompted a lockdown of nine schools and confined 9,000 students on campus as police searched eight square miles of the San Fernando Valley. The manhunt went well into the night, causing massive traffic jams and trapping students. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck estimated at the time that the expense ran as high as $500,000.
Stenroos reportedly confessed after only a few days that his story was a hoax, and that he made the whole thing up because he accidentally fired his gun. An official statement on motive was never released.
"Let me tell you – he has violated the trust of this community," LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said when the hoax was revealed. "And I respect due process, but literally, he has violated the trust of thousands of people, and I will take action."
He was not the only one, as the state quickly slapped Stenroos for falsifying evidence and falsely reporting an emergency.