House Bill 1117 would allow counties to impose penalties onto alarm system contractors that fail to register or have failed to renew an alarm system. As introduced, the bill contained a provision that forces counties to wait 10 days before penalizing a contractor, which could significantly affect a jurisdiction’s ability to combat false alarms and allocate police resources effectively.
MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of HB 1117, “Alarm Systems – Registration and Renewal – Penalties”, before the House Economic Matters Committee with amendments worked out with the bills stakeholders that address the outlined concern.
From MACo Testimony:
Proper and prompt registration of an alarm system is an important tool for local governments to combat false alarms and the drain of valuable police time and resources that accompany them. Registration and renewals help ensure that local governments are able to quickly identify and contact alarm users prior to the dispatch of police resources.
Improper or missing registrations can result in confusion and dangerous delays of police response. For instance, Baltimore City and Baltimore County share 15 different zip codes. Without proper registration, calls may come into the wrong jurisdiction for police dispatch, delaying prompt police response.
These amendments strike a necessary balance. The parameters set by the bill for imposing a penalty on alarm contractors ensure that they will only be penalized for these specific violations, rather than for actions outside of their control. Removing the 10-day period will help ensure counties are able to hold contractors accountable for violating local law in a timely fashion.”
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.