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Plum officer suspended for computer security breach

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

A Plum police officer has been suspended indefinitely for what borough officials said was an internal breach of the municipal computer system.

Ptl. Jeremy Cumberledge, a seven-year veteran of the department, was suspended with pay on Jan. 11, according to two council members close to the matter.

The computer system contained records for the borough's 67 employees.

Officials said that security issues have been addressed.

“The borough's computer network was accessed inappropriately,” police Chief Jeff Armstrong said. “It isn't police department specific.”

The breach did not involve any resident information such as tax records, municipal manager Mike Thomas said.

“I have no reason to suspect that any residents' information was compromised,” he said.

Plum Mayor Richard Hrivnak did not comment.

Thomas declined to disclose how the breach occurred or a timeframe for when it occurred.

Cumberledge could not be reached for comment. His base salary is $78,817, Thomas said.

“We have turned over whatever information we have to another law enforcement agency,” Thomas said.

Thomas declined to disclose the name of the law enforcement agency.

Once the breach was discovered, measures were taken to ensure it didn't happen again.

“The (information technology) director made modifications to the security design to prevent further compromising of information and data,” Thomas said.

Plum Councilman Leonard Szarmach, personnel committee chairman, said he wasn't happy to hear of the situation.

“I was shocked and quite disappointed,” Szarmach said.

Councilman Dave Vento said council members first learned of the situation in a closed session before the Jan. 14 council meeting.

“You don't want that stuff going on,” Vento said.

“The police department is the best it has ever been. It is a shame when someone goes against the public trust.”

Vento said if the allegations against Cumberledge are true, Cumberledge's work status would be in jeopardy.

“He would not have much of a future with our department,” Vento said.

“It is an ongoing investigation, and it is out of council's hands,” council President Mike Doyle said.

Vento hopes for a quick conclusion to the investigation.

“Hopefully, it won't take long,” he said. “We need to get closure.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753.

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