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Spanish Fork urged to OK false-alarm fee

SPANISH FORK — False alarms are costing taxpayers far too much, Spanish Fork Police Chief Dee Rosenthal says, and he's asking city leaders to consider charging repeat offenders up to $200 for each incident.

The police and fire departments respond to hundreds of false alarms annually, Rosenthal said, costing the department an estimated $79,000 a year. False alarms increase liability for the emergency responders and have resulted in accidents.

Under a proposed ordinance, police would start keeping track of false-alarm repeat offenders, something they don't do now.

The ordinance, similar to one passed in Orem, would require alarm companies, businesses and residents to register their alarms with the police department. The first three false alarms in a calendar year would get off with a warning. The fourth false alarm would cost the owner $50; the fifth, $75; and the sixth through the ninth, $100 each. Ten or more false alarms in a year would carry a fine of $200 each, Rosenthal said.

Repeated false alarms create a complacent attitude among responders. "We're not supposed to be complacent, but it puts the responder in jeopardy," Rosenthal said.

— Rodger L. Hardy