Editorial: Enforcing fees for false alarms makes sense

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2006

We applaud the Albert Lea Police Department’s enforcement of a system of fees on businesses and homeowners for fire and burglar false alarms.

The fee schedule was put in place by the city council last year, but has not been fully implemented until now. All businesses and homes are allowed two false alarms during a six-month period. That certainly seems reasonable, because things do happen. The owners will be charged $50 for each subsequent false alarm, not caused by weather or loss of power.

Enforcing this fee schedule only makes sense.

Public safety and the safety of police and firefighters is the main reason for the ordinance, and false alarms put the public at risk because officers are driving in an emergency fashion.

Other cities have higher fees, and perhaps, if the current fee does not serve as a deterrent for businesses and homeowners to remedy the problem, higher fees should be assessed.

We are, however, concerned about the fact that the police department can choose not to respond to an alarm if four or more false alarms come from the same address and no corrective action has been taken by the owner.

It reminds us of the fable of the boy who cried &8220;wolf.&8221; And one never knows when the wolf might really come to the door.

We do hope enforcement of the policy serves as a deterrent and we encourage businesses and homeowners who have been having trouble with their alarms to get them fixed.

Your very livelihood &045;&160;or more seriously, your life &045;&160;could depend on it.