Lodi Police to Start Fining 911 Callers for False Alarms

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LODI -- Lodi police say they have been responding to too many false alarm calls from homeowners and businesses.

“We have a lot of businesses and residents that will receive the same false alarm multiple times a night, multiple times a week, multiple times a month,” said Lodi Police Detective Michael Hitchcock.

Detective Hitchcock said the false alarm calls are a strain on officers.

“We're already pretty stretched thin for officers and we noticed our response times were getting a little bit longer than we'd like them to be,” he told FOX40. “So we figured by starting to implement and enforce this that maybe we could cut those response times back down and free up our officers for more priority calls.”

According to the city, Lodi police responds to 180 false alarm calls a month or around six false alarm calls a day. It's a waste, not only of officers' time but of taxpayers’ money.

“We found it cost about $70,000 worth of our time as far as the salary loss for us responding to these false alarms,” Hitchcock said.

It's an ordinance that's already on the books but starting Sept. 1, officers will begin enforcing a false alarm fine. Home and business owners can face up to a $75 fine or could be placed on a non-response list for chronic false alarms.

“I don't think that's right at all,” said Nicole Winans, the owner of Salon Envy and Boutique. “I think that if we call them, our alarm is going off and we need them, that's what they're there for and they should provide their services for us.”

Business owners like Winans said while they understand Lodi police only have so many officers, fining people trying to protect their property is not the answer.

"To see that the city is making a revenue on us rather than stand behind us is quite maddening," Winans said.

Lodi police said, simply, it is not about the money but about reducing the number of false alarm calls they respond to.

“If it's a false alarm that takes us away from other emergency things that could be happening,” Hitchcock said.

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