Cyberattack downs emergency dispatch system in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which sits north of Philadelphia, are trying to reboot their computer-aided dispatch system after a recent cyberattack.
911 on side of car
(Getty Images)

Officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, are working to restore services to their computer-aided dispatch system after a cyberattack on Sunday afternoon disabled the system.

The Department of Emergency Communications sent out an alert on Monday night through Ready Bucks, its emergency notifications platform, saying the CAD system is down. The technology helps public safety officers “prioritize and record incident calls, identify the status and location of responders in the field, and effectively dispatch responder personnel,” according to a publication by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

911 services in Bucks County, a region north of Philadelphia with population of about 650,000, are still operational, with first responders using phone and radio to perform their duties while officials investigate the attack. It’s unclear when CAD services will be restored.

“I want both the public and our first responder partners to know that our 911 system is up and running – If you call us for an emergency response, our dispatchers will get you the help you need,” Bucks County Emergency Services Director Audrey Kenny wrote in an update posted to the county’s website Tuesday. “The County has partnered with state and federal agencies, and has retained best-in-class incident response professionals to assist in our ongoing investigation.”


NBC 10 Philadelphia reports that law enforcement officials in Bucks County have also lost access to databases managed by the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network and the National Crime Information Center.

The attack comes a day after a coalition of nine national organizations, including the National Emergency Number Association and the National Association of Counties, called on Congress to fund critically needed upgrades to the nation’s 911 systems. In a letter they argued that the country’s aging 911 infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle system failures, cyberattacks and the current volume of emergency calls — an estimated 240 million each year, according to a 2021 survey of public safety entities.

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

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