Reading (Pa.) Hires Contractor to Manage False Alarms

READING, Pa. — To reduce the amount of time it spends answering false alarm calls, the Reading Police Department (RPD) has contracted with a private company to administer a new alarm management program.

In a cost-cutting measure several years ago, the department eliminated the position in charge of registering alarms, tracking repeat offenders and contacting those at fault, reports the Reading Eagle. Since then enforcement of the city’s existing false-alarm ordinance has suffered.

To reverse the trend, the city hired CryWolf False Alarm Solutions to administer the new program, including registering systems, alarm companies and handling enforcement. By implementing the new plan, which takes effect Aug. 1, RPD expects to save at least 2,500 hours a year, comparable to one and half officers.

Reading’s ordinance calls for repeat offenders to receive fines starting at $50 for the second false alarm within a calendar year. When users reach the fourth false alarm, they pay $100; a $500 fine will be charged for the 13th false alarm.

CryWolf’s compensation will be based on a percentage of the fees it collects, according to police. The firm will receive 35% of the first $55,000 in fees collected, 30% of fees from $55,001 to $110,000, and 25% of fees collected exceeding $110,000.

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