Jordan School District implements false alarm policy, procedures and fines

Submitted graphic image courtesy of Jordan Public Schools

Twenty-two false alarms activated at Jordan High School since Sept. 1 has lead the Jordan School Board to take action and implement an alarm procedures policy and fine system.

The Jordan School Board voted to approve an internal fine system at the March 9 board meeting after discussing the false alarm issue at a recent school board workshop.

Jordan Police Chief Brett Empey sent a letter to the district on Feb. 24, asking the school district to review its alarm policy and procedures.

Empey stated most metro cities have enacted alarm ordinances that allow a city to administratively charge for police response to alarms. For example, a city can charge a $100 per call fee each time the police respond to an alarm. Usually three responses are given in a year free of charge and the fee may be implemented on the fourth police response, Empey said.

“It has long been this department’s philosophy to work with our businesses, or in this case the school district, to try to remedy the issue rather than resorting to an administrative charge,” said Empey. “This has always been a successful approach for us.”

The school board unanimously voted to approve a draft of false alarm policies and procedures.

Jordan High School and the new Jordan Middle School and Community Education and Recreation Center (CERC) currently under construction are and will be armed with alarm systems, so alarm calls may be triggered and may become more frequent, Helgerson said.

“It is necessary we use these alarm systems to protect taxpayer investment, and it is also important to note the Jordan Police Department will begin to charge us for the continual false alarm calls,” Helgerson said.

If an alarm goes off in the new CERC, procedures are in place for staff and users to disarm the buildings under the agreement managed by Jordan Community Education department.

All false alarms triggered on March 10 and moving forward will carry consequences for students or groups who let off the false alarms. Each instance will be reviewed by administration to determine the problem and the offender, and reasonable discretion will be used if there was an honest mistake or error, Helgerson said.

The false alarm fines will be administered by Jordan Community Education. The fine for the first offense will be $50, $100 for the second offense, and a $100 fine will be issued for the third offense, plus the loss of usage privileges for six months.

False alarm offenses that will go into effect when the new Jordan Middle School and the attached CERC building open are outlined:

• Not properly following check-in and check-out procedures at the alarm panel, leading to a false alarm. Also, failure to disarm or arm the building and failure to write a person’s name and check-in or check-out time.

• Not following the facilities use agreement form that may lead to a false alarm.

“We are going to start this if they (Jordan Police Department) bill us or not,” said Deb Pauly, chair of Jordan School Board.

“All we are asking is to follow procedures we have in place, whether it is arming or disarming the buildings and following the facility use agreement form so we can work to prevent these false alarms,” Helgerson said.