Pasco County is considering fines ranging from $50 to $500 to help reduce the volume of false alarm calls that waste deputies’ time.
Figures collected by the sheriff’s office reveal that deputies responded to more than 17,000 alarm calls from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.
Most of the calls came from residential alarms.
Of the alarm calls received, nearly 80 percent of total calls to homes and businesses were false alarms, the data showed.
“Most were caused by systems not being maintained,” said Chase Daniels, sheriff’s spokesman.
At a Pasco County Commission meeting on July 12, Daniels told commissioners that Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco agreed with a county initiative to craft an ordinance that creates a registry for alarm systems and approve fines for excessive alarm calls.
Commissioners directed the county’s legal staff to draw up such an ordinance for future consideration.
Of the more than 17,000 calls recorded in 12 months, about 13,500 were false alarms.
Daniels said one business had 187 alarm calls within 12 months.
Most residential calls occur when the owners are not home, and most business calls occur when the business has closed for the day, data showed.
The proposed ordinance would create an annual registry of alarm systems that would be maintained by the sheriff’s office. The registry would include information on the owner of the alarm system, the type of system in use, who monitors the system and individuals to contact when deputies respond to alarm calls.
A $50 fine would be levied for failure to register, and also failure to update registration information. Failure to respond to the premises within two hours of notification would cost $100.
Two warnings would be given for false alarms for those with registered alarm systems, but a $50 fine would apply for a third false alarm call. Fines would increase by $100 for subsequent false alarms to a maximum of $500.
If the sheriff’s office responds to a false alarm at a location with a nonregistered alarm system, no warnings would be issued. Instead, fines would begin at $100 and increase to $500 on the fourth and subsequent offenses.
Published July 27, 2016