Sheriff’s Office in Minn. Adopts Ordinance to Stem False Alarms

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office will charge up $250 for false alarms, plus repeat offenders can land on a “restricted response” list.

STEARNS COUNTY, Minn. — Residents and businesses here, located in the largest population center in Minnesota’s central region, are now subject to repeat false alarm fines by the Sheriff’s Office.

Officials adopted an ordinance in late January, which took effect immediately, to stem deputies’ emergency dispatch to nuisance alarms. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office responded to about 500 alarm calls last year, although many were deemed false alarms, according to

There will be no charge for the first three false alarms in a calendar year. The fourth false alarm will be subject to a $75 fine. The owner will have to provide a written report to the Sheriff within five days to explain the cause of the false alarm and the corrective action taken.

With each subsequent false alarm dispatch, the fine increases: $150 for the fifth; and $250 for the sixth and following violations. The alarm user will also be issued a “restricted response” status and the Sheriff’s Office will no longer respond to the alarm system.

The restricted response status will last until the alarm user has satisfied the Sheriff’s Office that the causes of the false alarms have been corrected and are not likely to reoccur, according to the ordinance.

The move is a step to increase public safety, Stearns County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Vic Weiss told

Deputies respond to alarm calls as an emergency, usually with sirens and urgency, he said, and with false alarms, “you’re putting the public at risk unnecessarily.”

The Stearns County ordinance does not charge for weather-related false alarms, said Weiss, because the department does not want to burden residents with events outside their control.

The fine will be issued to owners in areas that are the sole jurisdiction of the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. If someone lives in St. Cloud, for example, they will be responsible under the city jurisdiction, not Stearns County, Weiss said.

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