Sandy Springs reduces fines, extends appeal window for false alarms

Sandy Springs has tweaked its false alarm ordinance again, reducing fines and extending the window in which a security company can file an appeal.

One city in north Fulton County has once again changed its ordinance on false alarms.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Sandy Springs council members unanimously voted to approve changes to the fee structure and appeal process for false alarms.

Under the changes to the ordinance, the fine for the first false alarm remains at $25 for the alarm company. The second false alarm fine was reduced from $250 to $150, and the fine for the third false alarm remains at $250.

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The change to the ordinance also says that a “a monitored site” that experiences more than three false alarms will be ineligible for dispatch for burglary calls to Sandy Springs police for one year.

Also changing is the time an alarm company has to file an appeal, as the city has extended that from 10 to 30 days. To appeal, the alarm company must file a written notice to the city within 30 days of the false alarm. A designated person in the city’s public safety department will review and decide on the appeal within five business days.

These changes, which are effective immediately, are the latest in several changes the city has made to the ordinance, dating back to July 2017 when the council decided to charge alarm companies for false alarms, not the residents. In April, the city revoked the registration of 39 alarm companies when those companies didn't pay fines.

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Many companies have paid up since, but five were still non-compliant and hadn't paid fines as of April 13, and Sandy Springs said police would not respond to burglary alarm calls there.

The city approved another amendment to the ordinance on May 1, requiring alarm companies to inform its customers if the city suspended its registration.

Sandy Springs will continue to respond to fire alarms, panic buttons, duress calls and hold-up calls, as well as direct calls to 911.

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