Number of calls doesn’t warrant cost, Stallings officials say
The town of Stallings doesn’t have enough alarm calls to justify the cost of creating an ordinance to address the issue. That’s the word from both the town’s police department and their public safety committee, as both recommend tabling the idea.
Last year, the town council agreed to take a look at the idea of an alarm ordinance, as police were responding to multiple false alarms. The total number of calls however, doesn’t justify launching the program, Police Chief Michael Dummett said.
Dummett said that through May 31, the department had responded to a total of 340 alarms, 165 from businesses and 175 from residental. Over 151 days, that averages out to 2.2 calls per day.
“I looked at the initial start up cost (of the program), the amount of alarms,” Dummett said. “Statistically, 2.2 alarms a day isn’t enough to justify spending almost $20,000.”
Any alarm ordinance would call for potential penalties for false alarms. However before that can be cataloged, the department would have to purchase computer software to register every alarm system in the town and then later keep a log of the false alarms. Once registered, it is possible to determine how many alarms exist and which have preponderance for false alarms. Then the town would work with an alarm monitoring company who has policies and procedures in place to help mitigate false alarms. The software costs $17,000 to purchase, with a $2400 yearly maintenance fee.
Dummett said he talked with the officials from the Matthews police department who work with that municipality’s ordinance and found for the first two to three months, one person spent 40 hours a week just doing the data entry required to register alarms and other required paperwork.
“Having officers respond to alarm calls costs substantially less than outsourcing,” council member Reed Esarove said. Esarove serves as one of two board liaisons to the public safety committee, along with Wyatt Dunn. “We don’t even believe there are enough alarms that exist to fund the program. This decision could cost the town a lot of money, with little results,” Esarove said.
In drafting a potential ordinance, the committee sought the counsel of experts and worked closely with retired Charlotte Mecklenburg Deputy Police Chief Glen Mowry, now a National Law Enforcement Liaison with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition.
“We’ll provide all of the facts and options, but the committee’s going to recommend we table this,” Esarove said. “We’re not a town the size of Matthews or Indian Trail. My guess is it’s going to be a long time before this is needed.”