The Marietta Police Department was honored March 10 for its alarm ordinance, which reduces the number of false alarm calls the department receives, allowing officers to spend more time on the streets proactively patrolling.
“False alarm dispatches from police are the number one call for service in most cases,” Glen Mowrey of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) said. “For the police department to operate efficiently, these have to be reduced.”
“In the past two years the Marietta Police Department’s alarm management program, which involves all principles of community policing and problem-oriented policing, has reduced alarm calls by 65 percent,” Mowrey said. “This is one of the top in the nation we’ve had in several years.” The police department has seen a 26 percent decrease in the number of total calls for service as a result of the drop in false alarms, he said. “The results of the program are really outstanding.”
As a result of the ordinance, Marietta Police officers have more time to devote to proactive work on the streets, follow up on investigations, community policing, and are able to respond to calls faster, Mowrey said.
The SIAC looked at several aspects of Marietta’s alarm management program including the beginning of developing the program, which included bringing in stakeholders, members of the alarm industry and the community to look at the issue of false alarms, Mowrey said. “The program was then brought before City Council with the best practices for reducing false alarms,” he said. “Council approved the practices, and the ordinance was put in place.”
“The next aspect the SIAC examined was the building and tracking program, which really sets Marietta’s alarm management program apart from a lot of other programs I’m working with,” Mowrey said. “As a result of the program, the police department is able to operate more efficiently and better use officers’ time,” he said. “The department and city are to be commended for the job you’ve done.”
The Marietta Police Department has the highest percentage of reducing false alarms in the past three or four years out of approximately 60-70 agencies across the country Mowrey is working with. “Marietta’s alarm management program is a sustained program because after the first year numbers seem to drop off,” he said. “The Marietta Police Department’s numbers have stayed steady.”
Mowrey encouraged alarm users to pay attention to their alarms, to help make the program work for the city. “Ninety percent of false alarms and activations in Marietta and across the country are human error,” he said. “The Marietta Police Department has done a great job of educating the public about the program, which will ultimately change alarm users’ behavior.”
City Council passed the alarm ordinance in July 2007. Alarm users are allowed up to two false alarms without penalty a year, and then fines will be assessed.
Register your alarm
Under the ordinance, every residential and business alarm user in the city of Marietta must obtain a free permit from the city. The permit registers an alarm system with the city for tracking purposes, and permits are not transferable. Each new occupant of a dwelling or business must apply for a new permit, and failure to register an alarm is subject to a $100 fine.
Complete the registration form online
The ordinance allows alarm users up to two false alarms each 12-month period with no penalty.
Beginning with the third false alarm, fines will be assessed as follows:
* First and second false alarm: no charge
* Third through fifth false alarm: $50
* Sixth false alarm: $100
* Seventh false alarm: $100
* Eighth false alarm: $250
* Ninth false alarm: $250
* Tenth and over false alarm: $500
* Failure to register: $100
Violations of the ordinance are civil in nature and do not constitute a misdemeanor or criminal charge.
There is also an appeals process for alarm users who receive fines for false alarms.
For more information, call the Marietta Police Department at 770-794-2364.