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Ulster County Considers Penalizing False Alarms

Mark Turnauckas/Flickr

KINGSTON – Homeowners may soon be required to make their burglar alarms less sensitive. A new law is being studied in Ulster County that would penalize people for false alarms. The matter came before the county legislature’s Law Enforcement and Public Safety Committee Tuesday night, and sparked lengthy discussion.

Committee Vice Chairman Kenneth Ronk said he does not want to fine anyone, but rather authorize to fine them as a deterrent to excessive alarms.

“The goal of the law is to decrease the amount of police resources that are wasted going towards unfounded false alarms, especially the same ones over and over again,” Ronk said.

Proposed penalties range from $50 to $200 for the second or third offense in a calendar year. Details will be hammered out next month with counsel, and later subjected to public hearing.

Repeated false alarms are a persistent problem, draining law enforcement resources. Each call usually involves an on-site patrol investigation. Thick logbooks maintained by police underscore the ongoing problem.

Undersheriff Frank Faluotico told the committee he is personally answered thousands of false alarms.  He warned the additional paperwork for the proposed law would burden his department.

“I don’t have the clerical staff to do that, by any stretch,” Faluotico said.   

Legislator Carl Belfiglio said that many local towns have similar measures in place, which could conflict with a similar countywide law.

“There’s got to be discussions with towns that have this ordinance already,” Belfiglio said.