WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County 911 dispatcher is in hot water for allegedly not following proper procedure on a call involving a relative.
Police believe the dispatcher was trying to help his cousin avoid getting a DUI.
By all accounts, it was a hard-working dispatcher who made a bad decision. That decision now has him facing charges and his future as a dispatcher is in question.
Michael Kalp, 41, has been a dispatcher at the Westmoreland County 911 Center for approximately 20 years.
One April morning, police believe he made a bad decision. That’s when his cousin, Joseph Kalp, wrecked his car on Old Airport Road in Hempfield and called asking for help.
“The person involved in crash initiated a cell phone call, and that cell phone call was to employee at the 911 who was on call at that time and to that employee’s cell phone,” Pennsylvania state trooper Steve Limani said.
The dispatcher, instead of sending state police to the scene, called the barracks to inquire about getting a tow truck in the West Point area, saying that his cousin had hit a deer.
Police later learned that Joseph Kalp actually struck a utility pole, causing it to crack in half. He had injuries so severe he had to be flown to UPMC Presbyterian.
Police suspect the dispatcher was trying to help his cousin avoid a DUI charge.
“For all intents and purposes he bypassed the system of having police and EMS respond (by) just trying to get a tow service there,” Limani said. “What reason he would have to get a tow service there, it needed to be investigated.”
Michael Kalp was not home when KDKA-TV went to his house in Greensburg Friday. He is facing several misdemeanor charges for interfering with a police investigation.