Originally published on Aug. 3
I am responding to John O'Connell's July 31 letter regarding Manatee Sheriff's Department charging a $25 fee for a false alarm call.
Mr. O'Connell, you were given the opportunity by your own alarm company to refuse police response. Instead, you requested their presence, and when they surveyed the entire premises it was determined that there was no crime and as a result charged you a $25 fee.
I am a permanent resident of Manatee County who also has an alarm system and had the same thing happen to me. I, on the other hand, feel quite differently.
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I consider myself very fortunate that that officer came to my house and not only insured my safety but my neighbors, too. He came off the road (where he could have been protecting other neighborhoods and people) to check on my home.
You might say "Well, that's what they get paid for" and you'd be right. Unfortunately, as a temporary resident you are not here when Sheriff Steube asks over and over for more officers, only to get a small percentage of what he needs -- or worse yet, get turned down all together.
You were blessed that everything was OK. To me, $25 is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you must have had knowing your winter home was safe. Perhaps next time you can refuse the call, maybe call a neighbor to go check on things and put them at risk.
Or better yet, cancel your alarm system's monthly costs and take your chances when you come back in September. My suggestion would be for you to realize how blessed you are to be protected by the officers of Manatee County 24/7, 365 days a year like anybody else despite your part-time residency.
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