City Council said during its Nov. 12 meeting that the city’s police department must refund fines paid by people who didn’t register their security alarms.

The council’s was reacting to a report from Police Chief Ken DeSimone about the city’s false alarm reduction program. City Council signed a contract with CryWolf that required residents to register alarms with the city by Oct. 1, or face a $100 fine.

City Council adopted the false alarm program in November of 2012, and has spent nearly a year urging residents to register their alarms and more than 6,000 have complied. Police are still responding to calls at homes and businesses with unregistered alarms, DeSimone said.

DeSimone said more than half of the alarm calls are generated by alarms not registered with the city.

“The most common reason given if they’re not registered is they didn’t know about the ordinance,” DeSimone said.

DeSimone said the department has offered to waive the $100 registration fee if the owner complied within 14 days. He said some people simply paid the fine, about 60 people total.

“The goal is compliance with the ordinance,” DeSimone said. “It’s not about fining people. It’s about reducing the false alarm calls.”

City Council told the police department to refund the money to people who paid the fine without taking advantage of the 14-day amnesty period, provided they have registered their alarms.

DeSimone told City Council the amnesty period will be available until Feb. 1, 2014.

City Council was on board with that idea, saying there’s been adequate notification by the city and the media.

“I don’t care if they knew or not after Feb. 1,” City Councilwoman Dianne Fries said.

City Attorney Wendell Willard said the city notified every alarm company doing business in the city about the new regulations. He said there were many that the city wasn’t previously aware of.

Some of the City Council members said they’ve already received calls about the fines.

“I had a constituent call me,” City Councilman John Paulson said. “The alarm company set up the alarm so there wasn’t a delay before it called police. This thing kept triggering.”

To learn how to register your alarm, click here.

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