Alarm fees not justified

Henry Henkel of West Windsor
    I have lived in West Windsor for over 11 years. In that time, I have seen a West Windsor police car patrolling my neighborhood perhaps a dozen times. Burglar alarms allow a police force to function in a more efficient manner, saving them patrols and allowing them to respond to situations where there is potential for a crime actually being committed.
   Since alarms allow the more highly paid officer to function more efficiently, an alarm records system that needs to be maintained on a part time basis by a lower paid clerk seems to already be a significant cost savings to the town and its police force.
   Neither the police force nor the town paid one penny toward the installation of these alarm systems. Neither the town nor the police force pay people to monitor these alarms; that is done by the alarm system providers, who also call a house before sending police in order to cut down on false alarms. The ongoing expense is paid for by the homeowner.
   Now they want to collect a fee for allowing the homeowner the privilege of protecting his home, his children, and the town while saving them work.
   No one denies that false alarms are a problem for police and may take them away from preventing “real crime”. If the goal of this tax is to cut down on the number of false alarms so that police can do their jobs, no problem — let’s charge the offenders not the whole town. A fee of $100 for first false alarm offense; $300 for the second and $500 for the third offense would more than compensate the police for time lost and get the attention of those that need to be aware of the problems they are causing with false alarms.
   Perhaps a one-time registration fee per homeowner of $15 -$25 to get the current database up to date is reasonable. Please don’t insult my intelligence by saying it costs $25 per house per year to maintain a generally inactive database. If the police are really concerned about people moving without updating their database, they can require as part of settlement in any real estate transaction in West Windsor from now a $25 alarm fee which will alert the department that a new owner is in place.
   All new or amended installations in the township can have a required document provided by the alarm system installer, forwarded to the police, that a new system is now on line.
   Just because other towns have police forces more interested in collecting fees than solving problems, it doesn’t mean that we need to follow their lead. Is there anyone in West Windsor who believes we are under taxed or provided with too many free services by our town?
   Maybe the West Windsor police need to go back to the drawing board on this one.
Henry Henkel
Providence Drive
West Windsor