City considers changing false security alarm ordinance

(WMC-TV) – The Shelby County Commission is taking a second look at an ordinate that requires people to pay a fine for false alarms sent out by their home security systems.

A committee is still trying to determine whether the ordinance is having a financial impact.

One commissioner is adamant about reducing the number of false alarms the county allows.

In 2010, the Shelby County Commission approved an ordinance that imposes fines on people whose home or business burglar alarms frequently register false reports.

"The ordinance is currently in place in the county. We're just re-upping it. When we passed it in 2010, it had a sunset provision that was included in the ordinance that means it sunsets if we don't re-up the ordinance. That's all we're doing," said Wyatt Bunker, Shelby County Commissioner.

The current ordinance requires people outside the city and in the county to register their alarms. It's a $30 fee initially and an annual $5 renewal fee.

For the first three false alarms, the owner receives a written warning. At the fourth false alarm, the owner must attend a mandatory alarm-user class.

After the fifth false alarm, the owner must pay a $25 fine and will receive a letter requiring inspection of their alarm.

"Right now they get four courtesy and the fifth one they start the fine. I'd like to reduce that to three courtesies and then we begin fining people in the four," said Bunker.

Bunker says false alarms cost the city and county time and money.

"It ties up a tremendous amount of resources. Not only the sheriff's department, but the city operates under the same regulations. They're a part of the metro alarm offices as well," Bunker explained.

The committee is expected to do a first reading of the ordinance on Monday.

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