"If we only have five or 10 deputies working the county at any given time, that's a big pull on our work force," Wilkinson said.
Under a draft copy of the ordinance, fines would be levied on alarm owners after their second false alarm. Residential users would get warnings for their first two false alarms in a calendar year, pay a $30 fine for their third and shell out $45 for each subsequent violation.
Businesses would also receive warnings for their first two violations. However, the fines would be higher: $50 for the third violation and $75 after that.
The ordinance also would require alarm system owners and contractors to apply for permits to use and install alarms. Permits to use alarm systems would cost $30 for both residential and business users. Companies that install alarm systems would have to pay $100 for a business permit. All permits would have to be renewed annually.
Neil Glessner, president of Glessner Alarms in Hagerstown, said he is "not thrilled" about the ordinance.
"I don't think anybody likes government regulating their personal and business affairs," Glessner said.
Alarm ordinances in other counties have dramatically lowered the customer base of alarm companies, Glessner said.
"A lot of people are intimidated by technology. If someone is going to get fined every time they set the alarm off because they forgot that their spouse set it, that gets to be more trouble than it's worth for a lot of people," Glessner said.
Glessner, who has installed alarms in Frederick and Montgomery counties, both of which have ordinances, said Washington County's draft is "one of the more palatable ordinances" he has seen because it allows people to appeal their fines.
Wilkinson said the county is not trying to punish people who have alarm systems.
"We're just trying to cut down on the bad calls," Wilkinson said.
What: Proposed false alarm ordinance
When: Sept. 11, 1 p.m.
Where: County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St., Hagerstown