Officials: Suspects illegally using Pa. 911 frequencies

"Individuals have used Cambria County radio frequency to transmit false information while posing as police officers," District Attorney Kelly Callihan said


By Patrick Buchnowski
The Tribune Democrat

EBENSBURG, Pa. — Cambria County authorities are searching for those responsible for tampering with the county's radio frequencies used by 911, EMS, police and Cambria County Prison.

"Unauthorized individuals have used Cambria County radio frequency to transmit false information to authorities while posing as police officers and corrections officers," District Attorney Kelly Callihan said in a statement.

Cambria County authorities are searching for those responsible for tampering with the county's radio frequencies used by 911, EMS, police and Cambria County Prison. (Photo/Cambria County Department of Emergency Services)
Cambria County authorities are searching for those responsible for tampering with the county's radio frequencies used by 911, EMS, police and Cambria County Prison. (Photo/Cambria County Department of Emergency Services)

"These actions are criminal and potentially place the safety of our first responders and the public in jeopardy," she said.

Robbin Melnyk, Department of Emergency Services deputy director and 911 coordinator, said there were 35 bogus transmissions on Thursday and Friday.

In some cases, the individuals used the police radio frequency to transmit information.

In one case, car 855 requested a radio check.

"We said 'You're loud and clear,' " Melnyk said. "Then the real 855 called and said that wasn't him."

Fire and EMS and police have multiple radio frequencies, she said. The county prison has one.

"It's really becoming alarming," Melnyk said. "What is this person trying to do?"

Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Lilly said fraudulent 911 calls put people at risk.

"Lives are in danger because police are diverted based on false information," he said. "County detectives are diligently investigating."

The FCC is also investigating, Melnyk said.

A reward of up to $2,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

The county is in the process of upgrading the 911 radio system.

"We are in the process of developing a new radio system with the technology to prevent this from happening," Melnyk said. "Until that system is put into place this could happen again."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cambria County non-emergency number at 814-472-2100.

Copyright 2018 The Tribune Democrat

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2018 EMS1.com. All rights reserved.