Two cited in Sharp County for communicating on emergency channel

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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ASH FLAT, Ark. (KAIT) - Two Ash Flat residents were cited for obstructing government operations after the county’s central dispatch heard them communicating on the emergency management frequency.

According to the release from the Sharp County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers heard over the span of four days what appeared to be a male’s voice saying, “Come in, Candy Cane,” “Breaker, Breaker, Candy Cane,” and “Where are you, Candy Cane?”

Sheriff’s investigators revealed the subjects were quoting the film “Joy Ride.”

The sheriff’s office pinpointed the location of the radios to a home in Ash Flat.

After visiting the address, deputies cited Matthew King and Jason Childs after both confessed to the interference.

Sharp County Sheriff Shane Russell said the interference created quite a headache for emergency responders.

He said it might seem like the two men were only having fun, but it took minutes away from a profession where seconds count.

“It was really becoming a problem where we couldn’t dispatch an ambulance a couple of times because of them, and that’s what really triggered us to start focusing on finding and locating where this was coming from,” Russell said.

Sheriff Russell explained his department switched to a digital system, causing law enforcement’s radio channel not to be interrupted.

Other agencies in the county, like EMS and fire, are still communicating through an analog system, making accessing the frequency easier.

“The frequency, you can find them if you know where to look. The radios were probably at a yard sale somewhere, and they happened onto them and figured out how to use them,” Russell said.

County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Dennis Gay said he wasn’t happy when he heard the news, as people’s lives were put at risk.

“Their health, their well-being, their safety. Those things are all important. We want to make sure that everybody understands that anything that interferes with our ability to do that, we’re talking about somebody’s life and well-being. We want to make sure we protect that for all of our citizens,” Russell said.

Region 8 News spoke to both men cited in the incident.

They explained they weren’t aware of the channel they were communicating on and never meant to interrupt emergency communications.

Sheriff Russell said more charges could be coming for the two men.