Thursday, August 27, 2015

9-1-1 Dispatching Technology: 2000 vs. 2015

Technology changes a lot in just a few years.
Here's what a typical work station looked like for a dispatcher back in the year 2000:

This is what a typical workstation looks like in 2015:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wandering Person Program

Do you have a member of your family that suffers from an illness or condition that can make them prone to wandering off and becoming disoriented?

The Midcoast Regional Child Development Services, in conjunction with the Help Autism Now Services (HANS), is working with law enforcement agencies within Knox County to promote the wandering program. Knox County agencies are developing a database to serve individuals with Alzheimer's, Autism, and other conditions that make them prone to wander. The program collects information such as physical description and photos of the individual to allow officers to more easily identify the lost person. Other important information includes potential triggers and ways to calm the individual down. All of this information saves valuable time when a missing report comes in.

Any resident of Knox County can contact a law enforcement agency in Knox County (Rockland Police Department, Thomaston Police Department, Rockport Police Department, Camden Police Department, and Knox County Sheriff's Office) or submit the information directly to the Knox Regional Communications Center in Rockland.

If you would like to have someone in your family entered into this database, please fill out the form at this link and either email it with recent photos of the person to, or mail the form with copies of photos to: Knox Regional Communications Center, 301 Park Street, Rockland, ME 04841.

Please contact KRCC Director Linwood Lothrop at or at 594-0429 x118 if you have any questions.

All information is kept confidential.


What is swatting?

Swatting is when a person reports a false emergency to public safety for the intent of getting a ("SWAT team") response to a location where no actual emergency exists. The calling party will often report that they are involved or nearby as a witness to a home invasion, active shooter, or hostage situation, attempting to muster the largest response possible. Often, the law enforcement response is substantial, with police confronting the unsuspecting victims at gunpoint, only to learn that there is no real emergency.

Those who attempt to cause a swatting incident use several techniques, including caller ID spoofing, TTY relay technologies, and social engineering. Communications Centers/PSAP's receiving these calls must proceed as though the call were real in case it actually is. These actors will often have a reasonable-sounding scenario, and will sometimes include personal information. These actors have various reasons for doing this. Sometimes they do it for "fun" and view it as a prank, while other times it is used as retaliation against a real or perceived issue with the victim. Several public figures and celebrities have been the victims of swatting recently.

If you, as a homeowner, is the target of a swatting incident, you should:
  • Remain calm - There will be a large officer presence outside your home.
  • Follow the instructions given to you - In order to provide a smooth resolution to the incident, listen carefully and follow the instructions given to you by the officers.
  • Do not run towards the officers - Keep hands visible and remain still until given instructions on what to do.
  • Advise officer in charge of all people currently in the residence - Let officers know of all persons in the residence and their location (basement, second floor, etc.)

REMEMBER - A swatting investigation is a response to a major crime in progress. Officers must handle the response as a real situation until they are able to make contact with the residents and verify that the call is false.

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID allows you to identify a caller before you answer your phone. A caller's number and/or name are displayed. Some phone and cable companies even offer widgets that allow you to see caller ID displayed on your TV or computer screen. Unfortunately, this service is susceptible to fraud. Using a practice called "caller ID spoofing", callers can deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name displayed in order to disguise their true identity.

FCC rules on Caller ID Spoofing
Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules:
  • Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading for inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
  • Subject violators to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.
  • Exempt authorized activities of law enforcement agencies in situations where courts have authorized caller ID manipulation to occur.

What are the rules regarding Caller ID for telemarketers?
FCC rules specifically require that a telemarketer must:
  • Transmit or display its telephone number or the telephone number of the seller on whose behalf the telemarketer is calling, and, if possible, its name or the name and telephone number of the company for which it is selling products or services.
  • Display a telephone number that you can call during regular business hours to ask to no longer be called. This rule applies even to companies that already have an established business relationship with you.

What other tips can the FCC give consumers?
  • Don't give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Identity thieves are clever - they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords, and other identifying information.
  • If you get an inquiry from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don't provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website, to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you.

What are the rules for blocking and unblocking your telephone number?
The FCC's Caller ID rules protect the privacy of the person calling by requiring telephone companies to make available free, simple and uniform per-line blocking and unblocking procedures. These rules give you the choice of delivering or blocking your telephone number for any interstate (between states) calls that you make. (The FCC does not regulate blocking and unblocking of in-state calls.)

What can I do if I suspect a violation of Caller ID rules?
If you have caller ID and receive a call from the telemarketer without the required caller ID information, if you suspect that Caller ID has been falsified, or if you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

How do I file a complaint with the FCC?
You have multiple options to choose from to file a complaint with the FCC.
  • File a complaint at this link: FCC Complaint Form
  • Call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
  • By mail:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554