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The false alarm ordinance, that was enforced since the summer, is still in place, Douglas County officials reminded residents

OMAHA, Nebraska – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is alerting people of a new false alarm legislation that went into effect this summer after receiving multiple calls from perplexed citizens.

In June, Douglas County enacted a new false alarm rule for those living outside the Omaha city limits.

“For years, we always responded to alarms, but according to our research, 99 percent of alerts in Douglas County were false,” says Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. “This takes valuable time away from proactive policing and other law enforcement duties.”

Residents having alarm systems that request police attention when activated are now required to register those devices with the county.

“If you have one of these alarm systems in your home that only emits an audible alarm and does not deploy law enforcement, you do not need to register it,” Hudson adds. “However, if [your alarm] contacts a central service, phones our 911 center, and requests the dispatch of police enforcement, you must register your alarm if you want us to respond.”

The adopted ordinance is identical to the false alarm ordinance of the city of Omaha.

“In this way, when the city of Omaha annexes a neighborhood, there will be no change in your services,” Hudson explained.

The regulation solely applies to burglar alarms; it has no bearing on your home’s fire, CO2, or other alarms.

The first registered false alarm call is free, however the second and third false alarm calls will cost $100 each. After then, the cost increases to $250.

According to Hudson, the county issued multiple press releases and public statements regarding the rule change. They notified the area’s registered alarm businesses of the change by sending a letter to their provider, CryWolf.

Since the county does not know everyone in the county has an alarm system and who does not, it is the alarm company’s responsibility to notify their customers about the ordinance.

According to Hudson, it is unclear whether or not these corporations are taking this action. Rocky Kelly, a returning Elkhorn resident, states that this is precisely what happened to her.

“Last Tuesday, my security system notified me that my back door was armed. “Well, I knew I had locked it,” explains Kelly.

After the ordinance went into force in September, she moved into her new home in September.

“They say, ‘Hey, we received this alarm, we’re going to deploy police,’ and I say, ‘Please do, because I’m not there, and no one else is either.'”

However, she receives another call from her security system within five minutes.

“They say, ‘Hey, they’re not coming because you’re not registered with Douglas County,'” I said.

Thankfully, it was a false alarm, but Rocky claims that neither the agent from her security company nor the official from the Omaha Police Department had the information she required.

Rocky said 6 News she felt betrayed by her landlord for failing to inform her of the registration requirement before she moved in.

She was also dissatisfied with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for their lack of response, claiming they could have at least questioned her when her security system was installed. She made contact with Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson, who, according to her, took her worry and perplexity seriously.

If the Sheriff’s Office observes a pattern of companies failing to tell residents of the registration requirement, they will contact the company and may file a formal complaint, according to Hudson.

Rocky tells 6 News that she is sharing her tale to ensure that people are aware of the new law and are protected in the event of a genuine emergency.

“That night, despite being told no one was coming to my home and having to walk through it alone (thank God my neighbors helped me), I was nonetheless scared.”

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