South Bend Considers Fees for Repeated 911 Calls

South Bend Considers Fees for Repeated 911 Calls
Created by djackson on 3/9/2013 11:42:38 AM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Owners of properties that generate repeated code violations and calls to police could face fines under a proposal being considered by South Bend officials.
Common Council member Tim Scott says he introduced the measure after police made 526 runs last year to an apartment complex on the city’s east side. The South Bend Tribune reported those runs cost the department about $132,000.
“Things are out of control in South Bend, and this is going to help alleviate some of that,” Scott said.
Police leaders support the ordinance, saying it’s about ensuring police resources are used fairly.
“Over time it’s been noted that some properties tax our resources more than others, and that’s not fair to the rest of neighborhood, nor is it fair to the rest of the community to have police resources tied up at one location on a chronic basis,” said Capt. Phil Trent, spokesman for the police department.
Trent likened the measure to the city’s alarm ordinance. That policy charges property owners a fee for service after a certain number of false security alarms.
Scott’s ordinance would designate any property that has five or more valid police complaints or code violations during a 60-day period as a “problem property” for one year.
The property owner would have to pay a $250 fee for each subsequent complaint or violation during that period.
Half of the fee would go to the police Law Enforcement Continuing Education Fund.
Scott said the measure isn’t designed to discourage people from calling 911.
“Safety is always first. Police make the determination afterward whether it’s a nuisance call,” he said.
A public hearing and vote on the ordinance could occur as soon as March 25.
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