N.C. Man Fined $39,000 for Misusing Public-Safety Radio Network
Wednesday, August 07, 2019 | Comments

The FCC issued a $39,278 fine against Ocean Hinson of Surry County, North Carolina, for intentional misuse of a local public-safety radio communications network in violation of the Communications Act of 1934. Hinson impersonated first responders in unauthorized radio communications on Surry County’s licensed public-safety frequency.

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 thereafter, Hinson posing as “Westfield VFD Unit 7331” responded using the mobile radio in his personal vehicle and stated that he was en route to the scene of the alarm. About four minutes later, Hinson, still identifying himself as Westfield VFD Unit 7331, contacted the dispatcher by radio and cancelled the call. As a result of these two transmissions, no real first responder investigated the triggered residential fire alarm. Fortunately, no fire actually occurred at the scene of the alarm.

This enforcement action was first announced in October 2018. The full order is here.

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