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July 1, 2009 > Outsourcing False Alarm Management Program

Outsourcing False Alarm Management Program

By Meenu Gupta

At the Newark City Council meeting on June 25, an agreement was signed with PMAM Corporation for outsourcing the False Alarm Management Program. On March 22, 2007, the City Council approved increases in alarm permit fees and false alarm fines and added a biennial permit fee and the suspension of police response for flagrant false alarms. Community members should be educated on the City's alarm permit program and reduce the number of false alarm activations. Due to these changes a part-time employee had to be included to manage the alarm program.

Before these changes were made, the Police Department responded to 1,653 alarm calls, with six resulting in criminal investigations. After the ordinance amendment, the Police Department responded to 1,524 alarm calls, with four resulting in criminal investigations, which is an 8 percent reduction in false alarm activations. On average, false alarm activations require 57-73 minutes of staff time, which includes taking the call, responding to the alarm, processing paperwork, and collecting fines. Approximately 1,548 administrative hours per year is currently spent on alarm management, which equates to $40,812.

False Alarm Management Solution (FAMS) was created in 2003 by PMAM Corporation and is used by over 14 agencies, including those similar to ours in residential populations such as Rocklin and Upland, California, as well as McKinney, Texas. FAMS is an interactive web-based program that is configurable to any CAD system. FAMS provides full-service program administration and maintenance, including tracking, reporting, billing, and collecting fees and fines. This user-friendly system also allows alarm owners to view their account, contact customer service with questions, and make payments online. FAMS will address the false alarm issue, without charging an initial start-up fee. Service charge is currently calculated at a rate of 35% of program revenue collected.

The Police Department currently utilizes a third party vendor to process and collect parking citations and has done so since its conversion from a criminal to civil process. This arrangement has saved many staff hours in regard to the processing of documents, billing, contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles, and collecting on delinquent accounts. With the ever-increasing demand to do more with less, other such third party vendors are opening their doors to the public sector.

PMAM Corporation provides a one-stop shop False Alarm Management Program that offers a number of service components consistent with our goals and philosophies. There would be no additional costs to the City, valuable staff time will be saved and overall revenue will be increased. The City Council unanimously voted (5-0) to sign an agreement with PMAM Corporation for outsourcing the False Alarm Management Program.

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