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Local News

Authorities Begin More Aggressive Investigation After Person Again Impersonates County Fire Dispatch

Someone has been intruding on the Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s radio frequencies again, prompting a more aggressive investigation by authorities.

In late November, there were several instances of a man reading information from County Fire dispatch computers (published as a dispatch Twitter feed and on the iPhone app ResponseDeck) and transmitting information over county frequencies. County Fire shut down the two feeds in response but eventually brought them back online.

On Monday, County Fire Capt. David Sadecki announced the Twitter feed would be shut down again, citing the same problems of unauthorized radio traffic.

“It appears he was monitoring one of our data feeds and he stepped in the place of dispatch and verbally assigned units to an incident this morning,” said Joe Ayala, supervisor for the dispatch center run through the Sheriff's Department

There were instances throughout November and it’s been quiet for a few weeks, he added.

“We don’t have any indication that it’s more than one person or more than one radio," Ayala said. "We have heard different voices using the frequency, but it’s been very infrequent.”

Authorities are investigating more aggressively now. They are putting together recordings of the unauthorized transmissions and will present it to the Federal Communications Commission, which could prosecute if the people are located.

The radio in question, which could be a misplaced county radio or a purchased two-way radio, can access the Santa Barbara County public safety repeaters, so it could be possible to track the person by seeing which tower the transmissions are using, Ayala said.

“If we ever do identify them," he said, "they’re going to be dealing with a federal prosecution.”

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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