False alarm? You may be paying for it in Rockwood

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By Cindy Simpson

First reading of a Rockwood ordinance creating a permit requirement for alarm systems in the city and charging a penalty for excessive false alarms passed unanimously last week.

“We have times where we get swamped by false alarms,” said Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright.

“A lot of times we’re going to a house or business or the fire department is answering them where we have no idea who a responsible party is, whether we need to make entry if it is a medical alarm or not, somebody to get a-hold of,” Wright said.

“What this is going to do by enacting this will make sure that we have in our database, which we will supply to 911, to the communication center, of who the responsible parties are that we need to call to basically release us of the responsibility of answering that call.”

Wright said the fee for initial registration and annual renewals will be $12 under the ordinance, and the ordinance gives a grace period of six months after passage to fall into compliance.

Everyone will be allowed so many false alarms, but from the third to fifth false alarm, up to $25 per incident can be charged.

For six and subsequent false alarms, the city can charge $50 each. Failure to register and obtain a permit is $25.

“I think it is great, and I’ll probably be one of those paying the $25,” Councilwoman Peggy Evans said.

The ordinance allows for an appeals process.

“If we fine you, you can appeal it to city court,” Wright said.

A section about prohibited acts is included.

“It should be unlawful to activate an alarm. In other words, to activate an alarm when it is not really an emergency in order to get somebody just to come to take care of the situation,” Wright said.

Wright said he believes in many cases people either fail to repair a faulty alarm or are unaware there is a problem.

Wright said the fees will go back into the program.

A second reading and public hearing will be scheduled in the future. The matter will be enacted if it is approved upon second reading.