Fishers PD combats rising false alarm calls with fines

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FISHERS — Police officers respond to all sorts of calls from serious, life threatening emergencies, to less serious welfare checks.

However, a growing number of false alarm calls have departments – like Fishers Police Department – scratching their heads wondering how to stop them. 

They took their concern to Facebook, in a post which plead with alarm owners to do their research to help cut down on rising false alarm calls.

An idea they’ve come up with is to charge homeowners and business owners who’s alarms go off falsely. For starters, if you own either a home or business in Fishers and haven’t registered your security system through FPD you can be fined. 

Permits cost $30, and last for three years, which is cheaper than the price you’ll pay if it’s not permitted and police are called to your home, that’ll cost you $50.

If you are permitted and have police called to your home for false alarms, the fourth occurrence will run you $100 in a one year period. The fine grows to $250 for the eight violation on. 

“Most of the alarms calls that we respond to … are false. That includes residential and business,” Public Information Officer for the Fishers Police Department Sergeant Tom Weger said. “Over the course of the past year, our officers have responded to 1,800 false alarms.”

False alarms can not only cost you, they cost police departments too. They’re taxing, time consuming and take officers away from other important duties. 

“Our officers will always respond to every alarm call and we assume every alarm call is a legitimate alarm. So we take great caution in responding and then approaching the residence or the business to make sure that the business is secure cause you never know what you’re walking in to,” Weger said. “So that does take away from the time that they could be spending on other, proactive law enforcement activities in the community.”

For that reason the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is reevaluating how they’ll handle alarm calls as most of their calls too are false. 

“The vast majority of IMPD alarm runs are false alarms,” Public Affairs Officer Lieutenant Shane Foley told FOX59 in a statement. “IMPD is in the process of evaluating our alarm run response as we continue to direct our resources toward combatting violent crime.”

Gabe Ferland lives in Fishers. His home and business are both alarmed, they are permitted so when he accidentally set one off he didn’t face a fine.

“It’s just to keep an eye on our home but I’ve had that happen once to me because there was a false alarm – that did happen regrettably,” Ferland said. “But it did make us alert, like hey, if you have this many… it will cost you. I thought that was completely reasonable and it did cause us to be attentive to that circumstance in trying to prevent it.”

Despite all the time lost responding to, what turned out to be nothing, Fishers Police Department still encourages both homeowners and businesses to install security devices. 

“We do encourage residents and business owners to have alarms and so a lot of our residents do take that extra precaution and alarm their home – we just hope they do their research and keep up on these appliances and do their research,” Weger said. “Overall this is a very safe place to live, work and play but anything can happen at any time.”

Fishers Police Department is also implementing new rules to help cut down on false alarms called Dual Authentication.

New alarm systems installed after January 1, 2018 must have Enhanced Call Verification or another form of dial authentication. All alarm systems in the City of Fishers are required to have Enhanced Call Verification or dual authentication after January first of this year. 

You’re asked to contact your alarm company to ask about Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) if you have any questions.

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