Council OKs alarm ordinance |

Council OKs alarm ordinance

Susan Wood

Defending life and property may soon cost you more.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council unanimously decided Tuesday to require homeowners and business operators to get permits on security alarms. And when the alarms go off too many times, fines ranging from $50 to $275 may be imposed.

The ordinance is expected to be fully adopted when the City Council meets next month.

The price of the permit for installing alarm systems has not been determined at this point, but police Lt. Terry Daniels said after the meeting he’ll recommend $10. A police officer will have to examine and permit each system, according to the proposal.

Daniels told the council his department has spent a lot of time responding to alarms – 99 percent of which are false.

Beyond the nagging inconvenience, there lies a bigger problem because false alarms “erode the confidence of officers.” Police officers take their guard down when they’re constantly showing up at the same business for an overactive alarm.

“Unfortunately, one day it will be real,” he said.

Daniels said the proposal the department worked on for a year isn’t about raising money.

At least 27 companies sell security alarm systems.

“Do they all have business licenses?” Mayor Kathay Lovell asked.

“No,” Daniels answered quickly.

Duane Wallace, executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, said the policy is OK with his organization. He’s all too familiar with alarms going off. The chamber’s alarm sounded off just last weekend.

No one spoke against the policy.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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