Dunwoody City Council members chose to delay adopting a false alarm ordinance after disagreeing about the terms of the ordinance.
Police Chief Billy Grogan asked the council at its Sept. 24 meeting to consider the ordinance as a measure to cut down on the excessive number of false alarms police respond to in the city. The ordinance would have required people to register their alarm systems and pay a fine ranging from $50 to $500 for having more than three false alarms.
But some council members took issue with a section of the ordinance that states police won’t respond to alarm calls from people who haven’t paid the fines they’ve already accrued for false alarms within 30 days. However, police would still respond to 911 calls an panic calls from the alarm.
Councilman Denis Shortal said he fears that section could have unintended consequences.
“I just don’t want to be responsible for someone laying on the floor and us not responding,” Shortal said.
Grogan said that clause is “the teeth of the ordinance to get people to pay.”
Councilman Terry Nall said he felt the city needed to approve the ordinance to reduce the amount of time police officers spend responding to false alarms.
“This is a real citywide problem and it’s because we have no ordinance in place and no ordinance with any teeth,” Nall said. “I think this ordinance provides the necessary incentive … for alarm owners to take responsibility for their alarms.”
Shortal made a motion to approve the ordinance without the section in question, which the council approved 4-3.
Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch suggested tabling the ordinance to give Grogan time to return to the council with more data.
Council took another 4-3 vote to table the ordinance.