GREENWOOD – False alarms and 911 calls could result in fines for business owners and residents in Greenwood.
The city plans to fine people $50 if officers are repeatedly called to the same place for no good reason. Greenwood Police Chief John Laut said the change is primarily focused on getting businesses and homeowners to repair faulty alarm systems.
Laut told Fox 59 that his department has received, as of this week, 480 false calls and two for actual emergencies. Those false calls add up in terms of manpower and fuel costs, Laut said, to the tune of $127,000 a year.
The Greenwood City Council has already given preliminary approval to the plan, although final approval is still needed.
The fines would not apply to alarms set off during storms. People could also appeal any violations in hopes of getting the city to waive them.
The rule would also go after people who repeatedly call 911 in for non-emergencies. Parents whose children call 911 three or more times while playing on the phone would be subject to fines.
Police stressed that people shouldn’t be afraid to call for emergency help if they think something is wrong—the fines are meant to stop fake emergency calls, hoaxes and non-emergency calls. Police won’t hesitate to respond if someone has a genuine concern, even if suspicious activity turned out to be a mistake.