Federal Court Upholds City of Sandy Springs False Alarm Ordinance

United States District Court dismisses lawsuit filed by alarm companies for false alarm ordinance.

Post Date:12/13/2018

The United States District Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association (GELSSA) and A-Com Security Company LLP and Safecom Security Solutions, Inc. alarm companies charging that the City of Sandy Springs False Alarm Ordinance was unconstitutional.  The court opinion found substantive due process and legitimate governmental reasons for the ordinance and a rational basis for the City to believe the law furthers a legitimate purpose.

The alarm companies and GELSSA filed suit March 12, 2018, claiming the City’s False Alarm Ordinance violated their constitutional rights by fining the alarm companies for the false alarms they reported to 911 on behalf of their customers.  The City maintains that it is trying to resolve a public safety crisis created by the alarm industry. 

Almost 18 percent of all calls coming into the 911 center come from alarm companies, of which, 99 percent are false alarms.  The City revised its False Alarm Ordinance in September 2017, because the Model Ordinance recommended by the alarm association and implemented by the city in 2013, proved to have no substantial impact in reducing the number of false alarms.  In 2017, there were 9,802 calls to the 911 center by alarm companies with 99 percent of those false alarms. 

In June 2018, the City Council approved additional changes to the ordinance requiring alarm companies to provide true, confirmed verification through audio, video or in-person confirmation on intrusion (burglar) alarm activations before calling 911.  The new requirements take effect June 19, 2019, providing alarm companies with a full 12 months to implement.

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