Contract approved to continue Paradise Valley police alarm service

A view of Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert presenting the town’s alarm monitoring system option to town council. (file photo)

Paradise Valley Town Council has unanimously approved a contract that will allow its legacy police alarm program to continue.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Town of Paradise Valley’s elected leaders voted 7-0 to award a contract to Dynamark Monitoring, Inc. for alarm monitoring services.

The vote was anticipated after town officials searched for more than a year for a solution to continue service on the police departments alarm system servicing several hundred residents.

Paradise Valley homeowners have the option, for a monthly fee of $35-$50 depending on the number of zones monitored, to connect directly into the Paradise Valley Police Department’s dispatch center for when emergencies occur.

If an alarm connected to the Paradise Valley alarm system is tripped, a call for service will ring directly into the department’s dispatch center, town officials say.

Fewer than 400 subscribers use the service, Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert says.

The year of 2016 started with a seven-day outage, illustrating the necessity to repair an antiquated system. The decision came down to weighing options of upgrading and improving the system or ending the resident service altogether, according to town officials.

On Dec. 1, 2016, town council voted 5-2 to not terminate the project and to explore additional paths for a hybrid business model for at least the next 60 days to a year. Councilman Paul Dembow and then-Councilwoman Mary Hamway voted for the termination of the service.

An alarm work group was created following the decision, including Vice Mayor Bien-Willner, Councilmember Mark Stanton, Town Manager Kevin Burke, Chief Wingert and Town Senior IT Analyst Robert Kornovich.

Seeking a solution

In May 2017, Paradise Valley Town Council gave support of releasing a request for proposal seeking a partner on a hybrid alarm monitoring system, according to a town staff report.

A staple of the Town of Paradise Valley and its dedication to a local alarm monitoring program. (File photo)

Priorities of the partnership were to include being able to receive signals from customers and providing them to the police department, and respect to users’ desire for reduced response time and data privacy.

The RFP was released in October 2017, with a due date of Nov. 17, 2017, Chief Wingert explained to elected leaders at a January meeting.

A total of four proposals were received.

The highest scoring proposal belonged to Maryland-based Dynamark Monitoring.

The Dynamark system will take an alarm call from the user’s house, through the internet, through a telephone system to Dynamark’s facility, and via Virtual Private Network or VPN, to Paradise Valley Police Department dispatch.

For dispatchers, the process really won’t change too much, the police chief says.

While Dynamark is based out of Maryland, Western Regional Account Manager Rich Cowen lives in the Valley for any assistance needed.

Dynamark’s cost per resident is $2.50 per account per month, Chief Wingert said, describing their model as revenue neutral with ongoing financial viability.

Cleared for employment

Prior to the Dynamark contract passing, various anonymous complaints to the state of Arizona Board of Technical Registration appeared on the doorstep of Independent headquarters in Phoenix.

Mr. Cowan and Dynamark Security Centers are named on two of the complaint forms.

In summary, the complaints allude Mr. Cowan is not a properly licensed alarm controlling person or alarm agent. The complainant calls for disciplinary actions against Mr. Cowan, alleging that he sells, and has been selling alarm system monitoring services and technical direction for years without being properly vetted through AZBTR per state law.

However, Chief Wingert and Mr. Burke say these claims are unfounded.

“What we learned is there’s kind of two parts, one is a sales person, one is a technical agent. The sales person is not the registered agent in Arizona, but he did go through his background clearance in Maryland,” Mr. Burke explained in a March 1 phone interview.

“We were aware of a few complaints but Chief (Wingert) chased them down and we were comfortable before we moved forward.”

Chief Wingert agrees, saying the town thoroughly vetted Dynamark and Mr. Cowan.

“Dynamark Monitoring is registered with the Arizona Board of Technical Registration,” he said in an email to the Independent. “Because Dynamark is headquartered in Maryland, the company registers their dispatch and data entry personnel with the Maryland State Police.”

The Maryland police conduct a similar process to that of the local Board of Registration, Chief Wingert contends.

“In my discussion with Dynamark’s president, I have been told that Mr. Cowan has passed a background examination in the state of Maryland,” he says. “Mr. Cowan provides services to independent alarm dealers and is not involved in alarm system sales, tests, or installations. Under Arizona law (A.R.S. 32-101) he is exempt from registry with the Az BTR because he does not visit the location where the alarm system installation occurs.”

Dynamark does have a controlling person and alarm agent registered in Arizona, Chief Wingert says, who will be the recipient of the Paradise Valley subscriber data now that the contract is signed.

In addition, at the town’s request, Mr. Cowan has applied for and been granted an alarm registration in Arizona, Chief Wingert noted. He also says he contacted the Board of Technical Registry to inquire about Dynamark Monitoring.

“There are zero disciplinary actions taken against Dynamark Monitoring, the controlling party or the registered alarm agents for Dynamark that appear online since 2010,” he says.

News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be reached by e-mail at mfittro@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MelissaFittro

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