SEASIDE — If someone calls 911, chances are Fred Causer knows about it.
Causer is one of the administrators of Clatsop County Scanner Group Uncensored, a Facebook page that shares raw information broadcast by emergency dispatchers.
The group, which has more than 13,000 members, posts items on everything from car crashes and missing persons to noise complaints and cows in the road.
Growing up, Causer remembers his grandmother monitoring a police scanner in the house.
“I said, ‘Grandma, why are you listening to that? What is it? What do you get out of that?’ And she said, ‘Information. I get to know who the characters are and what’s going on around me.’”
Causer grew up and has lived in Seaside most of his life. He and and his wife, Jennifer, who also serves as a scanner page administrator, have known each other from childhood. The couple returned to Seaside to take care of his ailing mother, Carol Ann, who died in 2016.
Jennifer Causer is program manager at a group home that takes care of disabled people. They both volunteer for the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, doing bird transports with occasional rescues and recoveries. They have three children. Fred Causer also has twins from a previous marriage.
Causer connected with the Clatsop County Scanner Group Uncensored page on Facebook. He saw it as a way to bring scanner listeners together. “We could share it around and get the same information to everybody in hopes of trying to make a better community,” he said.
He said he rarely gets a full night sleep as the scanner is a constant. “I actually have multiple scanners in my house,” he said.
The founder of the Facebook page, who goes by a pseudonym, invited the Causers to join as administrators — volunteer roles that require careful monitoring of what goes up on the site.
There are four moderators as well, Causer said, Rosie Ojala, Dan Sealy, Willie TenEyck and Rene Armstrong.
“They are also volunteers, who have a mutual love for the scanner traffic as well as keeping the community informed,” he said.
Scanner pages are popular in communities across the country and can take on outsized roles in places without local newspapers or radio stations. But sharing snippets of raw, unconfirmed reports from emergency dispatchers — and encouraging people to comment — can spread misinformation.
“We take a hard stance on people that want to disseminate hate or any kind of violence and stuff,” Causer said. “Facebook is doing a great job of overseeing a lot of it too now. It makes our job a little bit easier, but we still have our problems with people.”
Causer said there’s a lot of confusion about the group’s name.
“They think that ‘uncensored’ means that they can just come there and say whatever they want, spew whatever hate or divide you want to do,” he said. “We don’t allow that. We’re not a rant-and-rave page. When we say ‘uncensored,’ we’re talking about what goes over the scanner. There might be a fatality accident and there might be details in that people might not want to see. That’s why we say it’s uncensored, because there’s some stuff over the scanner that is pretty traumatic.”
Many times, he or others will reach out to law enforcement directly “if there’s any kind of iffy stuff. We don’t want to be a tabloid newspaper.”
The site also has a no-politics policy, he said.
“We don’t like the rumor mill, because we find a lot around here that people want to put in 10 cents, and sometimes that 10 cents isn’t a whole dime, right?” Causer said. “It doesn’t add up. I always tell people, just because it’s said on the scanner doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Causer said he tries to make the page a welcoming environment, with a respect for law enforcement and other emergency responders.
“Sometimes it’s hard because you get in these little mood swings, where people start to fight over politics and over anything,” he said. “Whatever happened to agree to disagree?”
Causer said he always tries to keep it civil. “We don’t want people to get attacked. We always try to come to terms: ‘Is it beneficial or is it going to be more destructive for the community?’ It has to be handled in a very ethical manner. To have 13,000 people that want to come check out our page, it’s an honor.
“I also find it has a lot of responsibility with it.”