FCC Proposes Fine Against North Carolina Man for Impersonating a Firefighter
Friday, October 12, 2018 | Comments

The FCC proposed a fine against Ocean Hinson of Surry County, North Carolina, for apparent intentional misuse of a local public-safety radio communications network.

Hinson faces a proposed $39,278 fine after impersonating first responders in unauthorized radio communications on a public-safety frequency licensed to Surry County.

On Oct. 17, 2017, Surry County officials responding to a fire alarm triggered at a local residence transmitted a request for a unit from the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department. Shortly after, Hinson, posing as “Westfield VFD Unit 7331” responded by radio and stated that he was en route to the scene of the alarm. Approximately four minutes later, Hinson, still identifying himself as that unit, contacted the dispatcher by radio and canceled the call, the FCC said.

As a result of the two transmissions, no real first responder investigated the triggered residential fire alarm. No fire occurred at the scene. Hinson later admitted to local law enforcement that he had made the two unauthorized transmissions using a mobile radio in his personal vehicle, the FCC said.

The law prohibits unlicensed operation on licensed frequencies like the one licensed to Surry County Communications Center for local public safety uses. Hinson’s apparent actions had the potential to cause significant harm and apparently violated FCC rules against operating on radio frequencies without a license, the FCC said.

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