Wisconsin City Implements Stricter False Alarm Penalties

APPLETON, Wis.

Appleton, Wis., police officers are spreading the word about the community’s new false alarm ordinance, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, according to a newspaper report.

Passed by the Common Council last fall to address the 95 percent false alarm rate, the new law creates an escalating scale on fines for false alarms and requires all alarm companies to become licensed by the state. Appleton Police Department officers had to respond to more than 1,000 false alarms in 2005, the Post-Crescent reported.

As with the old ordinance, owners of alarm systems will not be fined for their first two false alarms. The third, fourth and fifth false alarms, however, will individually incur a $75 fee. The sixth, seventh and eighth alarms will incur $150 fees and the ninth, 10th and 11th $300 fees. Every false alarm after the 11th will incur a $600 fee upon the owner of the alarm.

The Post-Crescent reports that 12 or more false alarms within a six-month period authorizes the department to stop responding to alarms at that address until the owner can provide police with documentation proving the system has been inspected and, if necessary, repaired.

The law also requires alarm installing and monitoring companies as well as users without support from an alarm company to adopt enhanced call verification. Users must also obtain an annual city permit for $35.

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