FCC Says Cameras In Durbin Magistrate Office Are Illegal

Durbin, WV – Earlier this year, Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese had security cameras installed at the Durbin Magistrate office. At the October 18th County Commission meeting, Magistrate Janet Kershner-Vanover expressed her concerns about the camera’s audio capabilities and possible privacy issues.

“My objection to the whole camera thing is, there is no place in the whole building for someone such as yourself [referring to Commissioner Martin Saffer] to talk to a client,” she says. “Any phone calls coming in with the audio on this; according to the Judge [Circuit Court Judge Joseph Pomponio], the Sheriff has assured him that the audio will not be used for anything. But I don’t know where this has been received and how susceptible it is as far as the internet.”

A Pocahontas resident and Commissioner Martin Saffer also articulated their concerns about the cameras, and its audio capabilities. Sheriff Jonese defended the use of the cameras, even going so far to post signage at the Durbin office that the cameras were not to be touched by order of the Sheriff under penalty of prosecution. He also stated that the audio from the cameras would not be used.

A complaint about the cameras, a wireless SecurityMan SM-302T device, was made to the Federal Communication Commissions’ enforcement bureau in Columbia, Maryland. The response to that complaint was sent Friday, December 2nd.

The FCC letter says that in August 2009, the FCC’s office of Engineering and Technology tested the device and found that it did not comply with the radiated emission limits specified in two sections of the Commissions’ rules making the cameras ineligible for certification in accordance with the Commissions technical standards. The letter goes on to say that operation of non-certified device is a violation of federal law.

The letter says that the illegal use of the non-certified device must cease immediately. Additionally the FCC says the Sheriffs dept has 20 days from December 2nd to provide information on when and where the cameras were purchased, and when they were removed from service.

In a related action, the FCC issued a citation to the marketer of the device, SecurityMan, Inc. in March of 2011 for marketing non-compliant radio frequency devices in the United States in violation of the Commissions’ rules. SecurityMan tried to deflect scrutiny from themselves saying that they only import the design components that violate FCC rules. But the FCC says as an importer and distributor, SecurityMan is still liable for the marketing violations of the Commissions’ rules. While the company no longer sells the device in question, the cameras are still available online from other distributors, possibly in violation of the rules.

As of press time, Pocahontas Sheriff David Jonese says he has not yet received the certified letter from the FCC and no action has been taken regarding the cameras in the Durbin Magistrate office.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather