Repeated False Alarms Could Bring $100+ Penalty
False alarms "pose a risk to public safety," the new ordinance states.
The Wentzville Board of Aldermen heard a first reading last week on an ordinance that would charge a penalty for repeated false alarms.
Chief of Police Lisa Harrison told the board that officers of the Wentzville Police Department spend an inordinate amount of time responding to false alarms. So far in 2012, Harrison said, 198 alarms could have been charged for if the ordinance currently under consideration had been in effect.
The ordinance states that false alarms
consume a sigificant amount of the Police and other emergency responders valuable time and services, and substantially impair the City's limited financial resources without any benefit to the general public . . .
The ordinance goes on to define false alarms and to identify which false alarms are to be considered a nuisance, as well as setting fees for the third and subsequent false alarms within a 12-month-period.
The fees are:
- $50 for the third false alarm in a 12-month period
- $100 for the fourth and fifth false alarm
- $150 for the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth false alarm
- $200 for the tenth and any subsequent false alarms
The ordinance allows that alarms caused by a malfunction of the police station's indicators; by testing, repair or outage or an act of God; alarms caused by illegal entries, with visible evidence; alarms followed by a call to the police canceling the call prior to the arrival of officers or canceling by giving the proper code will NOT be considered false alarms and not be subject to fines.
The board of aldermen asked that the bill be amended to give it an effective date of August 1 before it comes back for a second reading.