Police seek tougher fines for false alarms to avoid thousands of dollars in wasted manpower

False alarms cost police thousands of dollars

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Independence police said responding to false alarms costs them thousands of dollars in crucial time and manpower.

They’re asking city council to consider an ordinance that increases fines for false alarms.

This year alone, out of the 2,098 alarm calls, 1,964 were false.

"It's frustrating to officers,” Major John Cato of the Independence Police Department said. “If you were to divide that and work that into hours used to address this problem, this is a significant amount of money. It's a lot of man hours,” he said.

He estimated false alarms cost the department around $300,000 a year.

He also said it’s a public safety concern for his officers.

“When that alarm begins to be false always, over and over, you're not ready for the actual alarm; it tends to be routine,” He said.

Right now, alarm owners get two free passes, after that, they have to pay $25.

The new fees would go up to $30 and after 10 false calls, $100. In addition, police will also stop responding to your alarm, however, they will continue to respond to emergencies.

"When we get that call from the alarm company, they tell us what kind of alarm it is. If it's a hold up alarm, we're going no matter what. It may be false, but were going,” Cato said.

Cindy McClain depends on her alarm system.

“It just gives me security that I know when I leave at night I will get a call if something happens or somebody jiggles the doorknob. I will get a call,” she said.

She’s been charged in the past for false alarms, but didn’t mind paying it then, and won’t mind paying more now.

“Yeah, I am willing to pay it,” McClain said. “I don't mind at all. I mean, it takes them away from something that they ought to be doing so for me it's a small price to pay to know that my buildings are safe."

A city spokesperson said city council members plan to review the proposed ordinance in the next few months.

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