False Alarm Ordinance Put on Hold by Georgia Municipality
Implementing a new alarm ordinance was delayed after concerns were raised about multiple aspects of the program, including confusion over penalty charges.
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. – City officials here put off implementing a new alarm ordinance after concerns have been raised over how to register alarms, what the penalty charges are for and what police call “intrusive” questions from the third-party vendor contracted to administer the alarm management program.
The city began implementing its new program in June to reduce the number of false alarm calls. The ordinance originally called for business and residential alarm owners to register their alarm systems by July 18, according to 13wmaz.com (see video below).
Prior to Monday night’s City Council meeting, Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans was already voicing his concerns.
“I have a problem with the rollout, to be real clear with it,” Chief Evans said via 13wmaz.com. “The company may be absolutely great, and when they get their ducks in a row and we get ours in a row and we put them together, everything may walk and talk like it’s supposed to. As of right now, it doesn’t,” he continued.
The company hired to manage the program is CryWolf and it is supposed to register every 911 call as false or legitimate. According to the ordinance, any home or business that has more than two false alarm calls in a given time frame will be charged for additional false alarm calls.
The ordinance does not impact necessary 911 calls of any kind. Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms says the ordinance is not the problem.
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“We got to find a way to keep our police officers working and answering calls that are actually legitimate and not false alarms,” Mayor Toms said after the meeting. He continued, “This has nothing to do with any real alarm activations, they’re still going to respond to those.”
The problem is confusion and misinformation, 13wmaz.com reported. The questions from CryWolf asked about gun ownership, pet ownership, family employment and a variety of other topics, according to Chief Evans. He also told 13wmaz.com his department was not aware CryWolf would be asking those questions.
The city has not set a time frame for when the ordinance could be back on the books.
Chief Evans and Mayor Toms said if the council votes to end the contract with CryWolf it would cost the city roughly $16,000 to $20,000.
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