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Fired 911 dispatcher gets probation in attempt to bypass system so cousin's DUI incident not reported

| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A former Westmoreland County 911 dispatcher will serve two years on probation, though he insists he did nothing criminally when he attempted to help his cousin avoid a drunken driving charge in the spring.

Michael Kalp, 42, of Greensburg agreed on Friday to enroll in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time nonviolent offenders.

Kalp, a 20-year county employee, was fired after police charged him with six crimes, including obstruction of justice, official oppression and reckless endangerment in connection with a traffic incident on April 14.

Police said Kalp's cousin, Joseph Miller Kalp, 25, of Hempfield, was drunk and crashed on Old Airport Road that night. Michael Kalp, who was working as a 911 dispatcher, attempted to bypass the emergency-response system so authorities would not investigate the 3:06 a.m. accident, according to police.

“There is simply nothing criminally wrong with any actions he did,” attorney Anthony DeBernardo said on Friday about his client.

At a preliminary hearing in August, testimony revealed that after taking the call from his cousin, Michael Kalp went to the crash scene and called state police to say that his cousin had hit a deer and that the crash was not serious.

As a result of his arrest, Kalp was fired.

In October, Kalp rejected a similar ARD offer from prosecutors, saying that accepting probation would limit his chances of getting his job back.

DeBernardo, though, said on Friday that the probation sentence finalized that day should not affect Kalp's effort to be reinstated as a dispatcher.

A grievance hearing between Kalp and Westmoreland County could be convened in about three months,the attorney said.

County officials said Kalp's job status should not change.

“He's terminated,” said Human Resources Director Charles Dominick. “Our position has not been dependent on the criminal process.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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