False Alarm Update: Milwaukee, Oceanside, Raleigh


The police chief in Milwaukee says she won’t back away from
a plan to begin verified response in the city beginning
Sept. 19. Nannette Hegerty made the comment during a
meeting of the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety
Committee. It was the police chief’s first public comments
on the matter since she
announced July 16 that
the city will soon no longer respond to burglar alarms

unless they are verified by an alarm company representative
at the site of the call.

“I believe we can no longer provide a taxpayer-funded,
value-added service for private alarm companies,” Hegerty
told the committee according to the Milwaukee Journal-
. Hegerty did say that the policy would be
reviewed and possibly reevaluated after six months
depending on its effectiveness in cutting false alarms.

More than 50 alarm industry officials and customers
attended the Sept. 2 committee meeting, with some holding
signs reading, “No response = more crime.” The industry,
led by efforts by the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm
Association (WBFAA) and the National Burglar and Fire Alarm
Association (NBFAA), has been lobbying against the new

“Everybody wants to legislate, but nobody wants to sit down
and talk about it,” Chris Utter, s spokesman for the WBFAA,
told the committee. “I think it’s not right for the chief
to just give 60 days to put this policy in effect.”

However, the council cannot block Hegerty from implementing
verified response, and only the police chief can chose to
hold off on verified response – something she said Sept. 2
she has no intention of doing.

The council has proposed
plans of its own to deal with false alarms
it says are
alternatives to Hagerty’s plan. The first would require
companies to show they are able to adequately respond to
alarms or risk losing their license. The second aims to
have police continue to respond as they do now, but stiffen
fines on homes and businesses that have false alarms and
force alarm companies to collect them. A third proposal,
announced this week by Alderman Jim Bohl, would create a
panel that would take a three-month look at the false alarm
issue to try to resolve it.

It’s conceivable that the council’s motions could pass and
verified response could go into effect, meaning stiffer
fines, verified response and lost licenses all at the same
time for alarm companies and their customers.

In other false alarm news …

OCEANSIDE, Calif.:The city council in the city north
of San Diego approved on Sept. 1 higher fees for false
alarm offenders. By a 4-1 vote, the council approved
changes in the false alarm fee policy that will start fines
on the second false alarm instead of the third.

A tougher proposal to fine for all false alarms failed to
pass the council in May, at which point the council
directed staff members to develop an ordinance and method
of reducing the number of false alarms.

The council will decide at a later meeting what the higher
fees will be. Until the Sept. 1 policy change, a third
false alarm resulted in a $50 fine and went up by $50 for
each additional offence to a maximum of $200.

RALEIGH, N.C.:A new false alarm fee structure for
alarm users approved by
the Raleigh City Council July 20
went into effect Sept.

The fees begin with a $50 fine for a second false alarm
within a calendar year and doubles to $100 for false alarms
three to five, $200 for alarms six to seven, $300 for
alarms eight through nine and $500 for each false alarm

The Raleigh council is also urging residents to make sure
their alarm companies verify each alarm before dispatching
police, though the new ordinance doesn’t mandate verified

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