HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - After years of being flooded with false house alarms, Horry County is looking to add a false alarm program manager.
This position would enforce the alarm ordinance that was put in place in 2011.
"Essentially that person's responsibility would be to collect the data which comes from our CAD and calls for service and also calls dispositions to find out how the alarm was cleared and whether it was police or fire personnel, and whether it was a false alarm or not, or falls into the ordinance definition of what would be considered a false alarm," Horry County Police Capt. John Harrelson said.
Horry County Police and its 911 dispatch center get thousands of false alarm calls a year.
According to Renee Hardwick, Horry County's 911 director, the Horry County Police Department responded to 5,519 false alarms in 2017. So far this year, the department is on target to hit those numbers.
From January to July, HCPD responded to 2,641 false alarms.
"It ties up somebody who's taking a phone call, it ties up a dispatcher who could be the same person but most often not, who is dispatching an officer. Then it ties up an officer that we can't send to another call that we probably might have pending because they're tied up with that. So, there's a lot of resources tied up for these kind of false alarm calls," said Hardwick.
"For us to clear an alarm it takes quite a bit of time," agreed Harrelson.
The false alarm program manager position is in the new budget that went into effect on July 1, although Harrelson didn't have an exact number of how much it will cost.
"If they could deal with the citizens and then we wouldn't maybe get the same alarm for the same residence that maybe has a broken window, or a door that is loose that could be tightened where the alarm wouldn't get activated when people aren't home, kind of thing. So yes, it'll help us because if they repair those things then we won't be getting those calls. So yes it will help us," said Hardwick.