Callers to Monroeville 911 warned personal info may be at risk
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 3:24 p.m.
People who called Monroeville's dispatch center with emergencies in recent months should check their bank accounts and credit reports for possible tampering, an investigator warned on Tuesday.
Attorney William P. Bresnahan II, hired by the municipality, is notifying people who interacted with dispatchers, the police department, fire department or EMS since 2012 that personal information “may have been compromised and accessed by persons not authorized to receive that information.”
Though investigators don't know whether protected information was misused, driver's license numbers, names and dates of birth could be at risk for identity theft if someone provided that information to dispatchers or police, Bresnahan said.
He would not say how many people called the dispatch center and might be affected. Investigators could make that information available next week, he said.
Monroeville hired Bresnahan of Downtown-based Dickie, McCamey and Chilcote to head a local, third-party investigation that is part of a federal investigation by a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS received a complaint in August from police Chief Steve Pascarella, then the assistant chief. Pascarella said former Chief Doug Cole, now a sergeant with the force, created unsecure universal usernames and passwords for the Monroeville emergency database. That enabled anyone with the sign-on information to anonymously access personal information that should be protected by law, according to the letter.
Pascarella shut down access to the database at each of the EMS/fire companies in February, when he became interim chief.
Local investigators will send results of their investigation to federal officials, Bresnahan said.
Knowingly obtaining or disclosing a person's identifiable health information could be a crime punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and a year in prison.
The alert surprised some Monroeville residents.
“When you're calling 911, that's not something you're going to think about,” resident Toni Ducar said.
Mayor Greg Erosenko said the public notice was released prematurely.
“I'm concerned for the residents, being alerted that way, even before the investigation is done,” Erosenko said.
But Manager Lynette McKinney said the municipality is required by federal law to notify the public as part of the investigation.
“The investigation is moving forward and we are hopeful to have more information soon,” McKinney said in an email this week. “This situation is being taken very serious.”
Kyle Lawson is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Likely $2.3B influx puts PennDOT big-ticket road projects in play
- Pa. child abuse statutes faulted as too narrow
- Man shot by Pennsylvania state police at Pittsburgh International Airport was key witness in Massachusetts murder trial
- Result hazy as historic-building vote nears
- Newsmaker: José M.F. Moura
- Hill District nonprofit’s finances are taking another dive
- Energy drinks, alcohol don’t mix, study finds
- Money being raised to furnish Uniontown Marine’s home
- Food stamp fraud, bloat overshadow debate on farm bill
- Newsmaker: JoAnn Heffron-Hannah
- Allegheny court employees union files unfair labor practice lawsuit