On Tuesday, the Casper city council passed the first of three readings for the new false alarm ordinance, which hopes to reduce the number of false alarms that the Casper Police Department has to deal with.

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The new ordinance, which the council unanimously approved on the first reading, would add a $75 fee to the third false alarm in a year for a private intrusion alarm which would increase to $150 on the fourth one, $250 on the fifth one, and $500 for any additional false alarms.

For hold-up alarms, which take more police resources to respond to, the penalties are increased, with there being a $250 fine for the second false alarm in a year, which increases to $500 for the third alarm, and $750 for any additional false alarms.

The reason for the ordinance is because of just how many false alarms the police department deals with.

According to the city, there are on average 1,200 private intrusion alarms that police responded to per year, and of those 99.2% are false alarms, and as of Oct. 2, false alarms are up 36.4% compared to the same point in 2021.

For businesses with hold-up alarms, of the 133 that happened in 2021, 91% were false alarms.

Scott Lehner, the general manager at Comtronix, spoke in front of the council to say that after reading the ordinance, he's happy to support it.

Councilmember Kyle Gamroth assured people that while he's gotten emails from people with Ring doorbells asking if this affects them, he said that the ordinance only applies if their system is connected to the Casper Police Department.

Police Chief Keith McPheeters said that since the ordinance was announced a few weeks ago, they have already seen a decrease in the number of false alarms.

"When I first brought this up and started this public discourse about alarms, we were at a 48% increase for the year to date," McPheeters said. "And just having that public discourse has caused people to say 'holy crap,' and now it's down to 30. So that's the impact I'm trying to give is, for people to go, 'you know they're right, we've had a bunch of those false alarms, and I'd been meaning to call the alarm company and get that fixed and I keep having that employee that sets it off every Monday morning cause I can't remember the code, put a tattoo on their hand with the code.'"

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