FCC Fines for Misuse of Public Safety Radio Communications

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a fine of nearly $40,000 against a North Carolina man who reportedly misused a public safety radio communications network.

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in mid-October, Ocean Hinson of Surry County, North Carolina impersonated first responders in an unauthorized radio communication on a public safety frequency licensed to Surry County. In response to a fire alarm triggered at a local residence, Hinson, posing as “Westfield VFD Unit 7331,” responded via radio that he was en route to the scene. Approximately four minutes later, Hinson, again posing as “Westfield VDF Unit 7331,” contacted the dispatcher and cancelled the call.

Hinson reportedly later told law enforcement officials that he had made the two unauthorized transmissions from a mobile radio in his personal vehicle.

FCC rules prohibit unlicensed operation on assigned radio frequencies and can propose financial forfeitures in connection with such activities. In this case, the Commission has proposed a fine of $39,278.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in this matter.

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