Reviews are in for city’s false alarm program | More than 2,800 residents, businesses have registered alarms

During a presentation to the Bellevue City Council on Sept. 8, Bellevue Police Chief Steven Mylett said that despite some confusion and disapproval from residents, the False Alarm Management Program has been generally well-received.

During a presentation to the Bellevue City Council on Sept. 8, Bellevue Police Chief Steven Mylett said that despite some confusion and disapproval from residents, the False Alarm Management Program has been generally well-received.

“As with any new program, a few hiccups occurred,” said Chief Mylett, citing the roughly 50 calls the department received from citizens regarding the ordinance. “City staff responded to every complaint, and in the end, most citizens expressed appreciation and gratitude to staff for their quick responses and professionalism.”

The department is in the midst of implementing the false alarm ordinance, which requires alarm owners to pay an annual $25 registration fee and a $100 fine for a false alarm.

In 2014, the police responded to 3,871 false alarms out of a total 4,040 residential calls, and Bellevue Deputy Police Chief Mike Johnson stated that year that about 98 percent of burglary alarms were either caused by faulty electronics or the alarm being set off accidentally.

The police are hoping to reduce false alarms by 40 to 80 percent with this ordinance.

Some residents have voiced disapproval of the fact that residents must pay to register their systems each year, as well as for false alarms.

Under the ordinance adopted by the council in December 2014, an alarm awareness class may be taken to avoid the first fine. Panic, silent, robbery, burglary and duress false alarm calls with result in a $200 fine.

The biennial budget assumes false alarm revenue of $75,000 this year, and $70,000 in 2016, estimated to go down due to alarm owners taking corrective actions. Because the program can’t be implemented until the last quarter of the year, 2015 revenue will fall short of its budgetary projection.

As the Reporter previously reported, the city council signed a four-year contract with AOT Public Safety Corporation in May to manage Bellevue’s false alarm program.

The city will receive 71 percent of the first $75,000 in revenue from fines, alarm registrations and renewals in the first and second years of the program, and 81 percent after that. The remaining percentage goes to PSC for management of the program, using its proprietary CryWolf software. PSC is based in Waldorf, Md.

Bellevue Police estimate that about $125,000 is spent each year on false alarm calls, taking into consideration staffing and response time.

“This is a rough estimate based on the average amount of time it takes to respond to and clear an alarm call,” said Bellevue Police Officer Amanda Jensen. Calculating the actual cost would be too complex and time consuming, she added, so the department chose a ballpark number.

After the ordinance was first approved by the city council, the department reportedly fielded many phone calls from confused or disgruntled residents.

“I feel that the enactment of this ordinance is an unfair penalty on the citizens of Bellevue who have taken the responsible steps to protect their homes from burglary, invasion, fire, etc.,” David G. Scott wrote in a Letter to the Editor last month. “This program has the feeling of a collection agency that we are paying to benefit our city government.”

Police said in a statement that, to date, 2,828 residents and businesses have registered their alarms with the program. Of those registered, less than two percent have expressed displeasure with the new process, though many have been receptive to the goal of the program and have been willing to provide feedback in order to make improvements, according to the statement.

The police are continuing to implement the ordinance and sign up applicable residents and businesses. They will be holding two Q&A sessions at City Hall with representatives from CryWolf on Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m. and Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon.

 


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Drive-thru COVID-19 virus testing last week in the parking lot near Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett. A study by the University of Washington and UnitedHealth Group, conducted at Everett Clinic locations, found that a less-intrusive form of the coronavirus test would require fewer precautions by health care workers. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New self-swab COVID-19 test is just as accurate, study finds

The study, under peer review, was led by an Everett Clinic doctor. It could speed up testing nationwide.

Life Care Center (LCC) of Kirkland is facing more than $600,000 in fines for its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in its facility. Samantha Pak/Sound Publishing
Life Care in Kirkland facing more than $600K in fines for COVID-19 response

The facility has until Sept. 16 to pay or address areas of concern or it will be terminated.

Dentist checking patient’s teeth. Sound Publishing file photo
Dental foundation serves Medicaid patients through COVID-19

The Arcora Foundation is also attempting to expand its urgent care database, allowing those with different insurances to use its services during the outbreak.

Gov. Jay Inslee during a press conference April 2, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Inslee’s Facebook page)
Gov. Inslee extends stay-home order to May 4

As in other states, demand for intensive health care due to COVID-19 is expected to peak later in April.

Bellevue police virtual town hall postponed

The meeting was postponed at the last minute after an employee became ill.

Unemployment claims continue to climb

For the week of March 22-28, claims have reached more than 181,000.

Inslee to state businesses: Pivot to make medical equipment

The governor said Wednesday that the state must become self-reliant in the fight against COVID-19.

Eastsiders utilize technology to keep things running during COVID-19 outbreak

Technology and online habits have allowed businesses, city governments, nonprofits and residents to keep going while maintaining social distancing.

Most Read