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Orchard Park fire alarm law reducing police workload

Orchard Park’s law to reduce the number of false alarms from security systems seems to be reducing the police workload, Town Board members learned Wednesday night.

The board enacted the “avoidable alarm” law in January to reduce the number of false alarms triggered in homes and businesses requiring police and firefighters to respond.

There were more than 3,000 avoidable alarms last year, according to police records.

The town has levied $1,400 in fines since January for false police and fire alarms that could have been avoided.

Police Lt. Mark Pacholec said the town has collected $1,200, and has sent out collections letters for the other $200.

“I think the residents are being very careful in monitoring it,” he told Town Board members during their work session Wednesday night.

Property owners receive warning letters for the first three avoidable alarms to police in a calendar year. The fourth and fifth alarms generate fines of $50 apiece; the fine increases to $100 apiece for six or more.

Fines for fire alarms are the same, but property owners are allowed just one warning.

Pacholec said the number of canceled alarms is slowly increasing, with alarm companies calling police to report the owner keyed in the proper password.

As long as it is canceled prior to police or firefighters going to the location, it is not counted against the property, he said.

Property owners are not charged for false alarms due to weather conditions or power outages.

“I have to think your officers see the difference,” Supervisor Janis Colarusso said.

“It’s reduced the workload,” Pacholec said.

Board members also learned that the Erie County Water Authority took the Milestrip Road water tank out of service Wednesday to work on it.

“The area around Ponderosa should have a pressure increase,” Town Engineer Wayne Bieler said.