Kenmore City Hall. Blake Peterson/staff photo

Kenmore City Hall. Blake Peterson/staff photo

Kenmore updates outdated false alarm code

The original code section established a registration process that hasn’t been used in years.

The Kenmore City Council recently approved an ordinance that updates how police respond to false alarms.

The ordinance amends the section of the city’s municipal code on false alarms, which was enacted in 1998. Per the section of the code, it was required that alarm system owners in Kenmore register with the city clerk. Owners were mandated to write down their system’s information as well as any relevant personal details on a contact card to be filed by the city.

The earlier incarnation of the code dissuaded police from responding to alarms from systems that hadn’t been registered with the city clerk. It also instructed anyone who owned alarm systems but didn’t register them with Kenmore to make their devices non-operational.

According to Kenmore Police Chief Pete Horvath, though, this now-21-year-old section of the code is both outdated and now inconsequential.

“At my tenure here at the city, and in speaking with the city clerk, the legacy contact card file has not been located by her or myself, and we have not been able to create one for the last several years that this ordinance has been in effect,” Horvath said.

Horvath noted that, with accessible technologies having evolved since 1998, the old code is not in line with what the Kenmore Police Department is capable of doing now.

“With the implementation of the computer-aided dispatch being in all patrol cars, the alarm company and contact information is readily available to officers at the time of dispatch,” he said. “We’re able to look up that info on our screens and we will see who the alarm company is and who the regular owner of said alarm is.”

Horvath added that with historical computer-aided dispatch, responding officers are already able to look into a specific alarm system’s history with false alarms, which can help determine whether the police communicate trends to alarm owners or send fines. Currently, officers and the King County Sheriff’s Office’s 9-1-1 center don’t have access to the city clerk’s file of contact cards.

Even before the amendment to the code section passed, Horvath said officers had continued to be dispatched regardless of if an alarm system in question was registered with the city.

The ordinance amending the code section both removes city involvement in alarm system registration and excises subsequent mentions of the process in the code. Kenmore council’s uniform decision to approve the amendment follows the city attorney’s approval of the proposed changes.

For more information about the amendment, visit bit.ly/2nMn2k2.

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