The Board of County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office have come up with a workable solution to the false alarm issue.
The Douglas County burglar alarm ordinance provides an equitable solution to a difficult problem: managing our law enforcement assets to allow us to provide superior law enforcement services. Douglas County deputies spend to much time responding to residential and commercial burglar alarms that do not represent an intrusion or uncover criminal activity.
It is estimated that only 10% of the residents and business owners of Douglas County contract with private alarm companies. Other law enforcement services to these subscribers as well as the other 90% of the county are seriously jeopardized when the attention of our deputies is diverted responding to alarm calls. Most neighboring jurisdictions charge either an alarm registration fee or fines associated with false alarms, or both.
Our proposal, which is endorsed by the alarm industry, is to charge a modest alarm registration fee of $40 to pay for the administration of the program by a third party company and off-set some of the expenses incurred by our office in responding to alarms. The ordinance stipulates that there will be no additional fines or penalties for the first two false alarms. After that, rather than a fine, the alarm user will be required to fix the problem with their alarm and re-register the system along with paying a reinstatement fee of $100.
The ultimate goal is to reduce false alarms and to be more efficient with our law enforcement services and resources. The ordinance will also require the alarm monitoring companies to utilize the Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) system. When your alarm goes off, the monitoring company will have to call at least two telephone numbers of the alarm user to verify that there is a problem and a police response is needed. Studies have shown that many times a homeowner sets off their own alarm without realizing it. If the alarm company were to call the alarm user first and verify that there is not problem, no police response will be needed. We believe that by doing this the alarm owner/user and alarm company will be more responsible in deciding whether a response is necessary. This in turn will make law enforcement services more efficient.
What does this all mean for you the alarm owner/user?
At this point, the way we respond to alarms has not changed. You, the alarm owner/user do not have to do anything right now in regards to registering your alarm. The alarm ordinance went into effect March 8, 2008. Please remember it is your alarm monitoring company that is required to register with us.
Sheriff Weaver appreciates all the citizens that have supported this process, many of whom are alarm owners and many who are not. He is also extremely grateful to the attentiveness of the County Commissioners on this important issue.
For a more in-depth look into the program, please see the below ordinance.
Douglas County has contracted with ATB Services to manage the daily functions of our alarm ordinance.
If you have general questions or any questions about registration, suspensions, or jurisdiction, please contact ATB Services at: