Is there a value to owning an alarm system?
Yes, an alarm system can bring you a sense of security, peace of mind, and is effective with proper installation, training, and regular maintenance.
Are false alarms a problem?
Yes they are. The growth of alarm system ownership has resulted in a tremendous amount of false alarms. The response to false alarms has created an additional burden on law enforcement agencies. Approximately 98% of all the burglar alarms police respond to are false.
Why did the City adopt a false alarm policy?
The Police Department handles almost 4,000 false alarm calls a year. With continued growth, response to alarm calls could double or triple in the next few years. With 98% of the alarm calls being false, this is very costly to all City taxpayers and unnecessarily consumes police resources.
The ordinance is based on the Model Alarm Ordinance (MAO) that was developed in a cooperative effort between law enforcement and the alarm industry. Hundreds of cities across the nation have adopted alarm ordinances based on the Model Alarm Ordinance.
How is my alarm company involved in this matter?
Your alarm company plays a very important role in helping reduce false alarms. They are to assist you with any questions you may have about your alarm system's operation and maintenance and will have suggestions for you on how to avoid the most common alarm user errors.
What does the City hope to accomplish by enforcing the false alarm ordinance?
The City wants to substantially reduce the number of false alarms that the Police Department handles. Results from other cities that hold the alarm user accountable for the maintenance and operation of their alarm systems have successfully reduced the number of false alarm calls.
If I have just one or two false alarms a year, what is the problem with that?
If the Sparks Police Department responds to your home or business just once or twice a year on a false alarm, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. The use of our police officers has a value attached to it. We all count on our Police Department to be there when we need them. If every alarm user believed that it is okay to have just a few false alarms a year, then that would result in thousands of additional unnecessary calls. That is a burden placed on all taxpayers in the City including those that do not own an alarm system.
Where do all the registration fees and alarm service fees go?
All monies generated from the ordinance are dedicated to the Police Department to cover the cost of administering the alarm program and to recover some of the cost of police services lost to false alarm response. There is no "profit" for the City.
Why registration fees and annual renewals?
Registration fees pay for the administration of the alarm program. The alarm program is structured to track false alarms, identify alarm users, issue alarm educational information, bill alarm service fees, provide on-line services, and the availability to answer your questions via a phone call.
The ordinance requires Enhanced Call Verification (ECV). What is that?
(ECV PROCEDURE IS FOR BURGLAR ALARMS ONLY - NOT ROBBERY, PANIC, MEDICAL OR FIRE)
The alarm industry developed Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) as an effective way to avoid sending the police to a false alarm. It requires that your alarm company make at least two separate calls in verifying your alarm system's activation signal prior to contacting the police. Your alarm company will first call your home or business where your alarm is occurring and if they fail to contact a responsible party, they will then call a second number that you have provided them. The whole process usually takes less than 60 to 90 seconds.
As the alarm user, you are familiar with any type of activity occurring at the alarm site such as guests, home repairs, cleaning crews, employees opening or closing times, etc. This gives you two or more opportunities to cancel an accidental alarm activation before requesting police response.
Many alarm companies and monitoring centers have voluntarily implemented ECV on their own since it has proven to reduce false alarms and help their customers avoid false alarm fees.
Why was PMAM Corporation contracted to administer the alarm program?
PMAM corporation is a national professional service company which exclusively administers alarm programs for cities nationwide. It is not cost effective for a city to maintain their own system of tracking and billing false alarm violations as it requires hiring additional staff to administer the program. PMAM Corporation leverages their expertise, systems, people and processes to administer false alarm programs for many jurisdictions thus spreading the infrastructure cost to make it affordable for all communities.
Why do I send my registration fees and service fees to Irving, TX?
PMAM corporation is headquartered in Irving TX. All remittances are payable to PMAM Corporation. PMAM Corporation processes all payments and posts all payments received to the individual alarm user's account and deposits all funds into a bank account maintained by the City of Sparks.
How do I register my alarm system?
The ordinance requires alarm companies to provide the Alarm Administrator (PMAM Corporation) with a list of all their alarm users within the City limits. You are then notified by mail to register your alarm. New alarm systems are required to have a valid permit within ten (10) days of the installation or activation date of your alarm system. Alarm companies are required to notify the Alarm Administrator within ten (10) days of all newly installed alarm systems.