Albuquerque Enlists Private Company to Handle Alarms

Albuquerque, N.M.

The City of Albuquerque, N.M., is testing out a new alarm response program that enlists the help of a private security company.

Armed Response Team (ART) will respond to alarms at 40 city-owned buildings over a six-month period. The program is expected to cost taxpayers $18,000.

According to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), the New Mexico Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NMBFAA) would prefer to see the city fix the alarm systems and has volunteered to survey each of the buildings at no charge to the city; however city officials have not accepted NMBFAA’s offer.

Albuquerque’s current alarm ordinance has proved to be effective in reducing dispatches and bringing in significant revenue for the city. However, public buildings are exempt from having to comply with the city’s alarm provisions. Cities, such as Phoenix, do respond to alarms at public buildings, while others implement a charge similar to the public’s alarm fees.

“This test program by the New Mexico authorities goes against proven and widely accepted best practices for alarm reduction and will not reduce dispatches. In fact it is actually counter-productive in the fight to reduce dispatches,” SIAC Director Ron Walters says.

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