Aragon Coun­cil mov­ing ahead with false alarm or­di­nance

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - By Sean Wil­liams swilliams1­[email protected]­hoo.com

Aragon’s city coun­cil re­cently drafted a false alarm or­di­nance to help bet­ter con­serve their emer­gency re­sources.

The doc­u­ment saw its first read­ing dur­ing the group’s De­cem­ber 19 meet­ing, high­lights penal­ties and rules for those who re­peat­edly call po­lice or first re­spon­ders with­out a valid rea­son.

The or­di­nance seems to fo­cus on au­to­mated alarm sys­tems in par­tic­u­lar, stat­ing that ‘The Aragon Po­lice Depart­ment may be called upon to re­spond to any re­quest for ser­vice, whether re­quest is in per­son, by tele­phone or by elec­tronic alarm ser­vice.

At is­sue, is the num­ber of false alarms by the afore­men­tioned mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems, whether in­ten­tional or a mal­func­tion of equip­ment.’

Should the or­di­nance be adopted, those us­ing au­to­mated alarms would need to ap­ply for “a per­mit for the ini­tial in­stal­la­tion, mon­i­tor­ing, and or re­sponse to emer­gency calls for ser­vice.”

Prior to in­stal­la­tion, or within thirty days of ini­tial in­stal­la­tion, the alarm cus­tomer or in­stalling com­pany must regis­ter the alarm sys­tem with the Aragon Po­lice Depart­ment and re­ceive a writ­ten per­mit.

Reg­is­ter­ing the alarm will be com­pletely free.

This move is de­signed to make alarm own­ers and alarm mon­i­tor­ing busi­nesses as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for the main­te­nance and me­chan­i­cal re­li­a­bil­ity of their alarm sys­tems, and a set of penal­ties comes for those who fail to com­ply and cause false alarms.

While all penal­ties would be non­crim­i­nal, fail­ing to regis­ter an alarm sys­tem as re­quired would cause an ini­tial penalty of $100. The city would al­low a 3 false alarm grace pe­riod be­fore is­su­ing a $25 fee for the fourth false alarm, a $50 fee for the fifth false alarm, and a $100 fee for the sixth and all sub­se­quent false alarms. Fees would be sent via in­voice from the city.

An alarm is con­sid­ered to be false if the re­quest for emer­gency staff is made when an ac­tual emer­gency or threat­ened crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity did not ex­ist, is the re­sult of ac­ci­den­tal or neg­li­gent ac­ti­vated sig­nals, is the re­sult of faulty or mal­func­tion­ing equip­ment, weather-re­lated causes, pets or other an­i­mals trig­ger­ing the alarm, or ac­ci­den­tally fail­ing to dis­able the alarm by the build­ing’s res­i­dents.

Al­ter­na­tively, alarms are con­sid­ered valid if ac­ti­vated be­cause of gen­uine crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, ac­ti­vated once proof of at­tempted crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity was found, and if the alarm sys­tem was ac­ti­vated by a user who gen­uinely be­lieved an ac­tual or threat­ened crime was about to oc­cur.

The or­di­nance must still pass an ad­di­tional pub­lic hear­ing and fur­ther read­ings be­fore it can be passed into law, so those with an out­stand­ing opin­ion on the mat­ter are urged to at­tend fu­ture meet­ings in­volv­ing the doc­u­ment.

The coun­cil mem­bers also ap­proved a change to their own in­sur­ance bro­ker, opt­ing to re­cruit com­pany ShawHank­ins to han­dle their cov­er­age in­stead of OneDig­i­tal.

The lat­ter would re­port­edly cause lapse in em­ployee’s cov­er­age with­out in­form­ing them, and fil­ing claims was ap­par­ently dif­fi­cult thanks to OneDig­i­tal.

ShawHank­ins, a lo­cal com­pany, re­cently started a plan for cities and busi­nesses with 30 or fewer em­ploy­ees, and mak­ing the switch will not cause any ad­di­tional cov­er­age lapse for the em­ploy­ees.

/ Sean Wil­liams

The Aragon City Coun­cil dis­cussed their new false alarm or­di­nance with Chief Paul Maz­zuca dur­ing their re­cent work ses­sion in De­cem­ber.

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