Aragon City Council December 2018

The Aragon City Council discussed their new false alarm ordinance with Chief Paul Mazzuca during their recent work session in December. / Sean Williams

Aragon's city council recently drafted a false alarm ordinance to help better conserve their emergency resources.

The document saw its first reading during the group's December 19 meeting, highlights penalties and rules for those who repeatedly call police or first responders without a valid reason.

The ordinance seems to focus on automated alarm systems in particular, stating that 'The Aragon Police Department may be called upon to respond to any request for service, whether request is in person, by telephone or by electronic alarm service.

At issue, is the number of false alarms by the aforementioned monitoring systems, whether intentional or a malfunction of equipment.'

Should the ordinance be adopted, those using automated alarms would need to apply for “a permit for the initial installation, monitoring, and or response to emergency calls for service.”

Prior to installation, or within thirty days of initial installation, the alarm customer or installing company must register the alarm system with the Aragon Police Department and receive a written permit.

Registering the alarm will be completely free.

This move is designed to make alarm owners and alarm monitoring businesses assume responsibility for the maintenance and mechanical reliability of their alarm systems, and a set of penalties comes for those who fail to comply and cause false alarms.

While all penalties would be noncriminal, failing to register an alarm system as required would cause an initial penalty of $100. The city would allow a 3 false alarm grace period before issuing a $25 fee for the fourth false alarm, a $50 fee for the fifth false alarm, and a $100 fee for the sixth and all subsequent false alarms. Fees would be sent via invoice from the city.

An alarm is considered to be false if the request for emergency staff is made when an actual emergency or threatened criminal activity did not exist, is the result of accidental or negligent activated signals, is the result of faulty or malfunctioning equipment, weather-related causes, pets or other animals triggering the alarm, or accidentally failing to disable the alarm by the building's residents.

Alternatively, alarms are considered valid if activated because of genuine criminal activity, activated once proof of attempted criminal activity was found, and if the alarm system was activated by a user who genuinely believed an actual or threatened crime was about to occur.

The ordinance must still pass an additional public hearing and further readings before it can be passed into law, so those with an outstanding opinion on the matter are urged to attend future meetings involving the document.

The council members also approved a change to their own insurance broker, opting to recruit company ShawHankins to handle their coverage instead of OneDigital.

The latter would reportedly cause lapse in employee's coverage without informing them, and filing claims was apparently difficult thanks to OneDigital.

ShawHankins, a local company, recently started a plan for cities and businesses with 30 or fewer employees, and making the switch will not cause any additional coverage lapse for the employees.