BREAKING NEWS

West Virginians play key role in national security

Clarksburg -

To submit a tip to the FBI all you have to do is dial 1-800-CALL-FBI.  WBOY-TV found out the people on the other end of the phone are located right here in West Virginia.  
 
The FBI's Public Access Line, or PAL unit, serves as a bridge connecting the public to law enforcement.
 
 Scott Rago, FBI Section Chief explained, "We have the capability to take it in and then get it to the people who can analyze it and do something positive with it."
 
Whether it's a tip on a missing child, a bomb threat, or financial fraud.  The office located in Harrison County is where information is taken from the public across the country and then passed along to the appropriate field office.
 
On April 16, 2013 the PAL Unit was on high alert.  Just 24 hours earlier, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon.
 
 Rago said, "We were able to stand up everyone here, alert everyone this was occurring, get the tip lines in place.  And we received 20,000 calls in a three week period."
 
 Saving the FBI's 56 field offices valuable time.
 
"The information is immediately inputted into our computer systems, and we are able to send it back to the field office.  The valuable information that they can use to advance their investigations, without the time-consuming part of weeding out what is valuable and what is not," said Rago.  

Over the past five years, the unit has played a key role in major investigations, including last month's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Rago added, "We also do digital tips. Nowadays, everybody has some type of a camera, and they see things, and they video tape things, and they want to send it to the FBI.  I believe in the first week of Las Vegas, we received something in the area of 750 tips through our system."

The majority of the information is processed by West Virginians.

"A good 90 percent of the customer service representatives are from right here in West Virginia," said Rago.   

Officials say the PAL units is hiring for more information visit fbijobs.gov. 


More Stories