Alarm group sounding off on concerns
A meeting between the Utah Alarm Association and the Summit County Council that was scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed or canceled so the group can again meet with the Sheriff’s Office.
"After making the case of why there should be a response to alarms, I planned to say that the sheriff has to have the manpower and resources to do that. And that’s where the county comes in," said Ed Bruerton, President of the Utah Alarm Association and owner of Anchor Alarms.
Citing lack of sufficient funding for the department, Sheriff Dave Edmunds announced in February that the department would soon only respond to alarms that were verified.
The Utah Alarm Association expressed concern about the decision and met with the Sheriff’s Office Feb. 27 to discuss it. Edmunds did not retract the decision but did delay the implementation from its original start date of March 1 to May 1, and to continue to discuss possible alternatives to alarm response.
"The sheriff wants to talk to us some more, and I guess we’ll see where it goes," Bruerton said. "So for right now we’re not going to meet with the county but we’ll probably be meeting back with the county sheriff again.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, 98 percent of the alarms it responds to are false alarms. Last year, deputies spent 335 hours responding to the false alarms.
Bruerton said he wants Edmunds to understand that the 98 percent is not negative.
"I think he doesn’t understand it," he said. "We want the county and the citizens to understand it, too, if it gets to that point. When they say that 98 percent of all alarms are false, it’s true, but the implication from that statement is not true. They are putting it out like it’s a bad thing. But really, it’s a good thing because it means there are no burglaries on those people."
If deputies only respond to alarms that are first verified by alarm companies, burglaries will increase, he added.
"Cutting off the response is going to open the door to the burglars and just let them come on in, because there’s really no other alternative besides the police," he said. "There are no guard companies out there like in Salt Lake that can handle that. If the burglars get the idea that nobody is coming, there’s going to be a lot more burglaries and worse ones too. They’ll have more time to clean things out. I really don’t think it’s a good idea to open the door and throw out the welcome mat to the burglars."
Bruerton said that some insurance companies require a burglar alarm to purchase burglar insurance.
Edmunds is currently out of town and a meeting with him has not yet been scheduled.
"Maybe we’ll go back to the county at some time, too, but right now it’s on hold," Bruerton said. "We’re hoping the council and the sheriff will get together and change their mind about not responding. I know budgets are tight. Maybe the council can reprioritize something else. If people want a new biking trail, a dog trail or police response, they might have to up the taxes to pay for it."
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