Alarm companies given until May
Ryan Summerlin March 1, 2013
Alarm companies will now have until May 1 to prepare for less law enforcement support or to find an alternative plan for responding.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds and Capt. Justin Martinez met with representatives of the Utah Alarm Association Wednesday morning to discuss Edmunds’ recent decision to stop responding to unverified alarms.
"They needed some time to contact their customers and update their call lists and other information," Martinez said. "We asked if we could suspend the implementation for a little while so they could gather that information. So we have agreed to hold off until May 1."
The Sheriff’s Office also agreed to continue to meet with the association to discuss alternatives for alarm response.
"So we’ll continue to meet with them and maybe we’ll come up with a different solution," Martinez said.
According to a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office in early February, deputies spent 335 hours responding to false alarms last year.
President of the Utah Alarm Association and owner of Anchor Alarms, Ed Bruerton, said he understood Edmunds’ position but that his plan could create unforeseen problems.
"The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t had any more money for a long time and they have a lot more work," he said. "He’s between a rock and a hard place, and I think the Summit County Council is going to have to give him some officers at some point."
However, Bruerton said he told Edmunds that if they eliminated unverified response, burglaries will increase.
"Burglars will have a field day," he said. "Pretty soon it will get into the head of the burglars that nobody is coming and then you’ll have more problems."
Bruerton said there are other options, such as "broadcast and file," which means if an alarm sounds, an alert is broadcast to deputies who can elect whether or not to respond.
"Depending on where the officers are, and how busy they are, they could respond or not respond," he said.
Bruerton said there may be fewer responses than before, but that some response is better than none.
"We don’t want the burglars to get the idea there is none," he said. "The burglars think the cops are going to be there in two minutes. Even though that is not true, we want them to keep thinking that, because it’s a deterrent. That’s why alarms work so well."
Bruerton added that with the proposed system, customers will receive multiple calls before dispatch is called.
"I’m not happy with that, because we call the people after anyway, and we can always cancel the call," he said. "But we do want to do what we can to reduce the number of calls he gets, because we understand where he’s at. All over the country they tend to cut back on police and spend the money on other things."
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