Shelby County Commission takes up Memphis crackdown on false alarm calls

Shelby County Commission takes up Memphis crackdown on false alarm calls
Published: May. 17, 2017 at 8:43 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2017 at 8:51 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis City Council members cracked down on alarm abuse, and now their proposal made its way across the street to Shelby County Commissioners.

But it might be a tough sell there.
Memphis City Council toughened alarm penalties because false alarm calls are tying up Memphis Police Department, which is critically understaffed.
County commissioners need to sign off on that same proposal but some of them said they believe it's unfair.
The city upped the renewal fee from $5 to $10 and tightened false alarm penalties. After two false alarm calls, offenders face $50 fines. Previously the city gave more leeway.
"Why should people in the unincorporated area--that's now Memphis--pay a fee that goes to Memphis," County Commissioner Terry Roland asked.
Some commissioners like Roland said they don't believe the upped renewal fee is fair for county residents, since the majority of false alarm calls come from the city.

Others disagreed.
"We seem to forget that Memphis is in the county too," County Commissioner Eddie Jones said.
City officials report roughly 60,000 false alarms from the city last year and 12,000 from the county. Money collected from the office goes back to MPD and Shelby County Sheriff's Office, but MPD gets substantially more.
"I think it's about time for us to look at this a little more creatively," Heidi Shafer said.
Problem is, the metro alarms office is a joint office created by Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission resolutions.
It seems both bodies would need to be on the same page for enforcement, meaning if they don't agree, the future of the office could be in question.
"That would be another discussion about what becomes of the metro alarms office," Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen said.

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