WOOSTER – A joint law enforcement dispatching computer network that includes the Ashland police and fire departments was hacked, compromising more than 200,000 records.
The Wooster-Ashland Regional Council of Governments (WARCOG) provides 911-emergency dispatching for Ashland, Wooster, Orrville and Kidron.
Wooster Law Director Linda Applebaum issued a news release saying the breach occurred May 26. The FBI notified WARCOG on Wednesday.
Applebaum said in the release the breach is a federal crime.
“The privacy of our constituents and the confidentiality of their personal information are of critical importance to us, and we are taking this incident very seriously,” she said in the release. “We will be providing free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to people affected by the breach.
“We are reaching out to everyone whose records were involved in this breach to inform them of the steps they can take to activate these services, and we encourage them to do so.”
Applebaum could not immediately be reached Monday to say what information was compromised.
Ashland police Chief David Marcelli declined comment, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.
The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office has its own dispatch system. Capt. Terry Hamilton said it was not affected by the breach. The sheriff’s dispatch handled Ashland police and fire calls until Sept. 1, when the city switched over to the WARCOG center.
In the release, Applebaum said WARCOG regrets that the incident occurred.
“Unfortunately, we know these scams are becoming routine — and increasingly sophisticated,” she said. “FBI agents have repeatedly assured us that we have taken the correct steps to be ahead of the game in terms of security.
“Nevertheless, we are conducting a thorough review of all of our network protocols, policies and procedures to reduce the risk of an incident like this happening again.”