Swain to begin enforcing ‘false alarm’ rules

Beginning Sept. 1, Swain County Sheriff’s Office will have the authority to issue citations and fines for residents who have faulty alarm and security systems. 

Swain County commissioners approved a False Alarm ordinance several months go to address the timely and costly problem of responding to vacant houses when a security alarm is set off. Sheriff Curtis Cochran told commissioners the excessive false alarms were a burden on the sheriff’s department’s limited resources. The department responded to more than 1,000 security alarm calls in 2014 and a majority of them were the result of faulty alarm systems. 

The sheriff hopes the new ordinance will encourage part-time residents to update their security systems to prevent this problem in the future. Cochran assured commissioners his deputies would use common sense when enforcing the ordinance and take into consideration the elderly who may have problems working their systems. While he said warnings would be the first step, violators could be issued a $50 fine if deputies respond to a false alarm call at their home.

Residents can appeal a citation to the county manager and commissioners. 

“About 150 letters have been sent out to people we know have these alarm systems — the same ones who have been called before,” said County Manager Kevin King.

Former deputy pleads guilty to obstructing justice

fr deputyA former Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice following an Oct. 25 party that involved underage drinking and led to charges of statutory rape against two other men.

Jail suicide investigation on D.A.’s desk

jacksonAn investigative report looking into the March suicide of Steve Ross, who at the time was incarcerated at the Jackson County Detention Center, is now in the hands of District Attorney Ashley Welch.

A painful problem: Haywood teams up to fight prescription drug abuse

coverRecently recovered from rotator cuff surgery, Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher hasn’t popped a single prescription pain pill since the operation. Instead, he’s been using a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, over-the-counter meds that don’t pose the same risks of abuse and addiction as opioids. 

“Just this morning I was at the physical therapist,” he said in a May interview. “She said, ‘I cannot believe you didn’t take prescription meds.’ I said, ‘I didn’t need to.’”

Swain sheriff requests $20,000 pay raise

law enforcementSwain County Commissioners denied a $20,000 pay raise request from Sheriff Curtis Cochran during a recent budget workshop.

Swain to beef up courtroom security

fr swainsecuritySwain County commissioners know they need to address security concerns at the county administrative building in Bryson City, but they are still torn on whether they need to secure the entire building or just the courtrooms.

Angel Medical takes over mental patient supervision

medicalMacon County Sheriff Robbie Holland has found some recent budget relief since Angel Medical Center took over supervising mental health patients that are brought in for evaluation.

Swain commissioners: False alarm law needs common sense approach

law enforcementSwain County Commissioners are moving forward with a false alarm ordinance with the understanding that the sheriff’s office will enforce it with “common sense” in mind. 

Jackson deputy fired

The investigation is ongoing following a Halloween party at Dillard Excavating in Sylva that allegedly involved underage drinking and allegedly resulted in the rape of a 14-year-old girl, but the career of a Jackson County sheriff’s deputy who was suspended following the incident is not.

Sheriffs cope with exploding costs of involuntary committals

Law enforcement officers in Western North Carolina have been spending too much time and money driving all across the state in search of available hospital beds.

When magistrate judges issue an involuntary committal order, an officer from that county is required by law to transport the patient to a hospital for evaluation, but the shortage of available beds for mental health patients is making the process burdensome.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.