City to revise alarm ordinance

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Wichita 911 dispatchers respond to thousands of false alarm calls every year. So, to cut down on false alarms, the city is updating its alarm ordinance.

There are over 37,000 alarm permits in the city of Wichita. And in 2013,
there were over 18, 400 false alarm calls or 93% of all calls made to 911. It's a consistent problem.

"How do we reduce these numbers of false alarms that impact our service providers, our emergency service providers in this community", Police Chief Norman Williams said.

The new proposal keeps the current fine and fee structure in place. The first false alarm is forgiven. It's a 40-dollar fine for the second and third false alarms and the fines go up from there.

What's new is that the city can stop responding after the sixth false alarm in a year, or if the permit holder has not paid back fees and fines. That, police hope, will cut down on false calls.

Wichita Police Captain Doug Nolte said "And if we know we're going to go out and that there's a one in 10 chance that alarm is going to be false, if we can impact that then we're going a better job of keeping our resources available and one task."

The new proposed ordinance leaves in place the four minute time limit when 911 can be notified that an alarm is false. If a police car, EMS or fire engine has not arrived during that time and dispatch is notified, then the alarm owner will not be penalized.

The new alarm ordinance will be voted on at a future city council meeting.

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