11.1.22 – Oil City News- By BRENDAN LACHANCE
On Tuesday, the Casper City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance to establish new penalties for repeat false private intrusion and repeat false panic alarms on a vote of 9–0. The proposed ordinance would need to pass on two further readings in order to become law.
Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters has advocated for the changes due to officer time wasted responding to false alarms. City Manager Carter Napier said Tuesday the city sees about 1,200 false private intrusion alarms and over 300 false panic alarms per year. In addition, he said false alarm calls are up 36% so far this year compared to the same period in 2021.
The new penalties contemplated under the proposed ordinance would apply only to alarm systems that alert dispatch. The penalties would not apply if someone has a private home system that doesn’t alert law enforcement of an intrusion, Councilmember Kyle Gamroth noted.
The proposed ordinance would establish civil fees if more than two false private alarms in a calendar year originate from a single alarm user, a memo from McPheeters explains. The proposed fee schedule is as follows regarding false private intrusion alarms:
- Third false alarm: $75
- Fourth false alarm: $150
- Fifth false alarm: $250
- Sixth and subsequent false alarms: $500
If eight or more false private intrusion alarms happen in a year, the alarm user could be placed on a “no response” list under the proposed ordinance. Officers would not respond to alarms if a user is on this list. In order to be removed from the list, the alarm user would need to pay a $25 reinstatement fee, demonstrate proactive measures implemented to prevent future false alarms in writing and receive certification from an alarm installation company that the system is properly functioning.
For panic alarms, users would only be allowed one false alarm per year before fees would kick in. The fees for false panic alarms would be as follows:
- Second false alarm: $250
- Third false alarm: $500
- Fourth and subsequent false alarms: $750
A no response list would not apply to excessive panic alarms, meaning law enforcement would still respond even if an excessive number of such instances were to occur, McPheeters noted. The proposed ordinance would require panic alarm users to rely on two-button rather than one-button systems to cut down on accidental activation, he added.
The memo and proposed ordinance can be reviewed as follows:CasperPrivateAlarms