DRACUT -- More than 100 false burglar alarms per month that are unnecessarily sending cruisers rushing to homes and businesses with flashing lights and sirens has become a drain on police resources and a public-safety problem that may be solved by imposing a $50 fine per false alarm, Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand told selectmen Tuesday night.

In delivering his monthly police report during Tuesday night's selectmen's meeting, Chartrand informed the board that Dracut officers have been responding to "about 115 alarm calls a month" -- that's a lot, and we're sending two units to each of the alarm calls per department policy. It represents a significant amount of time and manpower being devoted to these alarm calls, in which, in the vast majority of times, there's no evidence of any breach of entry or indication why the alarm was activated."

Such false alarms are also "put the public at unnecessary risk that could be eliminated if this problem was eliminated," added Chartrand. The deputy chief asked the board to support a new bylaw that would fine home and business owners "$50 for each police response to a false alarm after three in a month's period," he said.

With no penalties for excessive false alarms currently in place, property owners have no incentive to have faulty alarms repaired or replaced, Chartrand noted.

Selectmen Joe DiRocco, Bob Cox, Tony Archinski and Chairwoman Cathy Richardson told Chartrand they were hesitant to recommend such a $50 fine bylaw until further board discussion and research takes place. Chartrand agreed to the board's request to obtain copies of false alarm fines that have been passed by neighboring communities for the selectmen to consider at a future meeting.

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