Fines Set For False Alarm Responses

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Owners of homes and business with frequent false alarms will soon begin paying the price.

The town council adopted an ordinance in April that fines owners after three false alarms per calender year. The ‘service charge' starts at $50 for the fourth false alarm, $75 for the fifth and $100 for each subsequent incident.

The exceptions are if the alarm system was installed within 30 days of the false alarm.

"We wanted to wait until we had a good system in place before implementing the ordinance," Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said. "Sgt. (Dean) Faust is working on a process that will work for us and that we think is fair for the business community."

The ordinance was prompted by the nearly 400 false alarm calls that the department responds to each year.

"We have not had a confirmed alarm that we can recall -- in a long time," Gartner said. "The danger of false alarms is that it is reducing their effectiveness. It's like car alarms -- if you are walking through a grocery store parking lot and hear a car alarm go off, you glance over and go about your business," Gartner said.

The calls typically require at least two officers due to the potential danger. Those officers are taken away from other duties to respond to the call. The officers must respond to the alarm as though it was an actual burglary in progress.

"It wastes our time and costs the taxpayers," Gartner said.

"After going to 400 false alarm calls, officers may become complacent," Gartner said. This complacency could result in harm to an officer, he said.

Gartner said the department will have a system in place after the first of the year.

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