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Comment on registration fee and false alarms and police response
October 25 2022
Comment on registration fee and false alarms and police response from article on October 13, 2022
          I would like to ‘weigh in’ on the Alarm Coordinator’s ‘registration fees’…..
          For those newbies to the alarm industry, the false alarm issue has been a long twisted road.  There became a very serious movement within this country to throw out the baby with the bath water.
          Since Police are under NO legal mandate (with the exception of FDIC insured institutions as the City was receiving Federal Monies that could then mandate alarm response!) to actually respond to an alarm when contacted by a Central Station, the alarm industry was in a state of panic.
  *you should see the look of SHOCK when citizens are told the Police really do NOT have to come on their alarm by law – it is just a courtesy!
  *if you look back in historical records, the Police did NOT respond, it was the Alarm         Company’s GUARDS who responded (*imagine today’s costs to have GUARDS respond instead of the Police)!!!
          What came out of this panic is working with the Chiefs of Police organization and coming up with what became called The Model States Program.  In this program, it was recognized:
  Alarm Systems needed registration to figure out WHERE there were systems.
  There needed to be an individual (or entity) to coordinate this registration – hence the     Alarm Coordinator was ‘born’.
          The Alarm Coordinator would then have the ability to mandate people to:
  Pay mandated by ordinance fines for premises that had too many false alarms (each  City Council determined that number)
  Attend False Alarm Classes to instill in individuals the need to not have false alarms – the video about false alarms was MOST effective – especially when someone had to take time and attend False Alarm School.
  Cease responding to premises who would not comply – yes, this did occur.
Issue a warrant for people who thought they could not be bothered (yes, in Leawood, KS, this QUICKLY got the attention of the very wealthy residents who thought they might be above the law).
          In the Greater Kansas City area this had a fantastic effect!
  False alarms dropped LIKE A ROCK! (*over time, Kansas City Missouri’s false alarm rate dropped from 5.0 false alarms per user to 0.50 false alarms per users – KCMO won a FARA award for these efforts)
  More Police were available to respond to ACTUAL emergencies!
  Life was GREAT!! We were making headway!
          Unfortunately, things could not last as Cities came under more and more financial pressures.  AND, unfortunately, the Kansas City Burglar & Fire Alarm Association had a President who decided to go down the path of Cry Wolf instead of getting more involved with the Alarm Coordinators!
          Hence, this area for the most part has strictly a fine structure which does NOTHING to combat false alarms but is simply a method of collecting monies for a commercial entity and the city gets a cut of the funds.
          When we had the Alarm Schools, people HATED to go to SCHOOL and thus, we really did not see recidivism – Police Officers on the Street KNEW that responding to an alarm actually meant something – instead of just going on another false alarm!
Ken – I’m SURE you have instances where responding Police Officers THOUGHT it was ‘just another false alarm’ – when, in fact, it was ACTUAL and Police Officers who had become complacent were now in a life or death situation slinging lead!
          FYI – the municipalities where we had alarm schools:
Kansas City, Missouri (*still has an alarm school)
Overland Park, Kansas (*has gone Cry Wolf)
Leawood, Kansas (*has gone Cry Wolf)
          I just thought I would throw my 2-cents into this topic!
 Joseph Pfefer, President  & Founder
Jade Alarm Co
          Always glad to get your 2 cents, and it’s worth a lot more.  I do want to take issue with the obligation of police to respond to alarms and other emergency situations.  Police protection is an expected government function.  It’s true that individual personal protection cannot be expected, but a community has a right to expect police presence and protection; that’s what taxes are for [still].  Let me explain how this translates in what is required and what can be expected, legally.
  *  You are walking along a NYC street and get beaten and robbed.  You have no claim against the police because as a member of the public you do not have a right to personal police response and protection.
  *  Your alarm goes off and the central station calls it in.  The police arrive late or not at all.  You have no claim against the police for same reason as above.
  *  You or central station calls in emergency and police dispatch gives assurance that they will be there in 5 minutes and that you should do this or that while you wait, which you do.  They don’t show and you get injured following directions; ie hide under bed rather than run out door or defend yourself.  You may have a claim against the police [actually the municipality] because the police created a special relationship with you, which you relied on and which they didn’t follow through with. 
          How do police get out of responding to alarms?  Easy, they simply declare the alarms an unreliable source of information to report an actual emergency.  Is that a reasonable or sustainable position?  Well it depends on what data the police are relying on, such as multiple false alarms are a specific premises or overwhelming false alarm in a community, which you would experience in a weather related emergency. 
          I don’t think it’s unreasonable for police to prioritize their emergency response.  A verifiable emergency condition would normally be given priority, such as a severe traffic accident or robbery in progress.  This is way verification is required in so many jurisdictions.  I guess a false alarm is not too different than the boy crying wolf.
          The police response issue is really not too different than what people in NYC and some other cities are experiencing.  You literally put your life at risk walking down the street, standing in a store; never mind taking a subway.  Think it’s crazy?  You don’t realize the half of it.  In NYC you can’t even defend yourself without risking getting arrested or sued, and you certainly aren’t allowed to have any instrument to protect yourself such as knife, spray or gun.  Every day we read about a shooting in NYC, Chicago, LA, Detroit and other cities, and mass shootings by nuts in other remote areas.  What I haven’t heard is how many of those shootings were by someone who had a license to carry the gun?  My guess is that in NYC the answer would be zero.  Something has to change and hopefully that can get in the right direction this election cycle, especially in New York.  Best of luck in your town.  Get out and vote; it’s all you can do.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301