WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Waldport City Councilor: Stop the county’s proposed burglar alarm changes!

The following is a letter to the editor from Waldport City Councilor Greg Holland, followed by an Editor’s Note at the end:

Dear Editor: Attention burglars. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department will no longer send out a response to answer a burglar alarm. Come on over and break in anywhere.

Before the County Commissioners approve this insane alarm policy, can’t anyone think of another method to solve the problem of false alarms?

How about a policy stating that anyone wishing to retain armed sheriff response to their alarm agree to pay a fee (say $100 and increasing with more false alarms) if it judged to be a false alarm? I don’t mean charge only after three or four false alarms. I mean charge for EVERY false alarm.

Another option would be to charge an annual subscription to insure a response to your alarm.

As anyone else, I want protection of my home. The thought of an alarm going unanswered when my alarm company contacts me while I am out of state or country is enough to send me into extreme panic. Is my front door open? A window broken?

It scares me even more knowing neighbors without an alarm system have been burglarized twice. The Sheriff hasn’t solved the cases and with a likely increase in the number of burglaries for their nonresponse, we can expect even more unsolved burglaries

They will of course respond if the owner of the property detects a break-in?! I’d wager that owner-present burglar alarms in Lincoln County are few and far between.

The Sheriff will also respond if a neighbor verifies seeing something is going on. That’s great unless you live in an area without close neighbors, vacation homes or your neighbor has a soundproofed home.

Besides, it is not fair to ask a neighbor to be a burglar alarm responder. If the watchful neighbor is noticed by the burglars, it might put their own safety at risk. Or imagine a strung out junkie doing the break-in, it is unrealistic to rely on neighbors to put themselves in the middle of it and be the eyes for the Sherriff’s office.

All that is required to implement my new system is to send out a letter to the businesses and homeowners that if you have a monitored system, and still want the Sheriff to respond, they will have to agree to pay the service fee of $100 (or more) for EVERY false alarm.

Failure to pay the fee will also result in their alarms not being answered in the future or at least until the account is brought current. Or in the alternative, bill a yearly subscription cost for alarm response.

The fee would be a small price to pay to know my house is being protected while I am away. I believe that most alarm owners are more than willing to pay a fee to offset the Sheriff’s costs of false alarms.

As a city councilor in a town that uses the sheriff’s office as our sole police department, I would argue that the sheriff’s office has enough funding from our city to answer our community’s burglar alarms.

If you oppose this reckless, no response policy, I urge you to attend the January 5th County Commissioner meeting at 9:30 am at the Board of Commissioner’s Meeting Room in the Lincoln County Court House, 225 W. Olive, Room 108 in Newport.

Without public response, the Commissioners may actually fall for the Sheriff’s ridiculous idea. Government needs to look at raising funds in some manner to cover the costs of services provided instead of doing the easy thing, jumping to a solution which entails cutting off important services for their citizens.

Greg Holland
Waldport City Councilor

Editor’s Note: Sheriff’s officials recently asked for alarm verification based on their contention that 99% of burglar alarm calls are false alarms. They told the Lincoln County Commission that the number and frequency of alarms are such that to respond to all of them would severely curtail overall law enforcement for calls of domestic violence, traffic collisions, and the like. They say many alarms come from homes isolated in far flung reaches of the county for which response times are quite lengthy. They told commissioners that their street patrols are already stretched thin based on budget constraints on the county’s general fund. They suggested that those who request automatic patrol responses to their alarms should contact their alarm companies or local security firms to arrange it. Lincoln County Commissioners have indicated that while the county budget is indeed stretched thin, it could get even worse next year, depending on the way the state balances its own budget. Lincoln County, like many others, rely on state assistance. As that assistance is expected to drop (along with near zero timber receipts) the county’s budgetary condition next year will likely be no better. In fact, they say, it could be even worse.

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