Dunwoody residents who call in numerous false alarms to the police department could face a fine up to $500.
The city of Dunwoody is one of three north metro cities that are adopting ordinances that assess fines for false alarms. Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs, which share the same dispatch service, hope to have ordinances in place this month.
Sgt. Michael Carlson, Dunwoody Police Department’s public information officer, said the department received 3,922 false calls in 2012 through November, which is up 7 percent.
“False alarms are a big problem since over 98 percent of alarm calls are false,” he said. “These false calls pull our limited police resources away from other calls or activity where they are needed.”
The proposed ordinance includes a $25 registration fee for commercial alarm holders. Residential alarm holders can register for free.
There is no fine for the first two false alarms, but a fine of $50 begins with the third false alarm. The fee continues to escalate after the third false alarm.
Violators will have to pay a $500 fee after the 10th false alarm. Each one after that is $500.
The proposed ordinance does not include a “do not respond” provision for repeat violators.
The request for an alarm ordinance was presented to the Dunwoody City Council on several occasions in August 2012, according to city officials. At a Dec. 10 meeting, the city council and mayor Mike Davis asked for additional information prior to making a decision about the structure of the ordinance before a final consideration would be given.
The questions centered on the “do not respond” provision, according to a memorandum. The city council wanted to know whether the exclusion of the “no response” paragraph, would negatively affect a third party vendor’s interest in contracting with Dunwoody to manage the false alarm program.
Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan told the council and the mayor that he spoke with a third party vendor and Glen Mowrey, a retired deputy chief with the Charlotte Police Department and a law enforcement liaison with the Security Alarm Industry Coalition.
“Both indicated that the absence of this paragraph should not impact a company’s willingness to manage our false alarm program,” Grogan said.
The Dunwoody City Council has the proposed ordinance on the agenda for discussion at its Jan. 14 meeting. City officials said a memo and proposed ordinance will be available on the city of Dunwoody website when the meeting’s agenda is posted.