KNOX CO., Ohio (WCMH)–A nationwide hack of the Fraternal Order of Police’s database is having a major impact here in Knox County, with concerns over safety of law enforcement officers.
A hacker group targeted the FOP on January 13 and 14, stealing names, home addresses, and work status.
There are 90 FOP members in Knox County. This part of Ohio was home to a fallen officer, Danville’s Thomas Cottrell, who was targeted and killed last month.
Capt. Jay Sheffer, secretary of the local FOP lodge, said he is warning members to be vigilant about they and their family’s safety, and also checking both their credit scores and finances.
He said this makes a law enforcement job that is already dangerous and stressful even more so.
“It is definitely uneasy! As law enforcement you don’t like your information out there, (it’s) no different from a civilian having their identity stolen,” he said.
Michael Weinman, Director of Government Affairs with the FOP Ohio, said there was also a Columbus police officer shot and paralyzed in the line of duty.
“With the addresses, that is very alarming that that info is out there. You know we are victims of a crime,” said Weinman.
There is a very compelling reason why they don’t want officers’ addresses published, he said
“We deal with very violent, oftentimes very unstable people. There are times when these people will show up at our homes,” Weinman said.
The hacker gained access into the national database which could affect more than 330,000 members. For now, their national server is down.
“You see even recently how police officers are targeted and ambushed. So that is why it is imperative to keep that info private,” Weinman.
Experts said the hack appears to have originated from outside of the United States.