Paradise Valley looks to overhaul townwide residential alarm system

The Paradise Valley Police Department is at 6433 E. Lincoln Drive. (File photo)

The Paradise Valley Police Department is at 6433 E. Lincoln Drive. (File photo)

The Town of Paradise Valley has been in the alarm business since 1984 but as the hardware and infrastructure has become outdated town leaders are looking at how the municipality can create a hybrid system cutting costs while ensuring alarm coverage townwide.

Paradise Valley Town Council Thursday, Oct. 22 held a work session discussion at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, to provide Police Chief Peter Wingert with direction on what next steps should be taken to address alarm system infrastructure needs.

Peter Wingert

Peter Wingert

Police Chief Wingert provided Paradise Valley Town Council with a series of options including a hybrid option where the municipality would create a request for proposal for outside entities to provide the alarm monitoring service in conjunction with the local police department.

Town council gave the proverbial head nod for the hybrid-model option, according to the Oct. 22 discussion.

Today, Paradise Valley homeowners have the option, for a cost ranging from $25 to $35, to have a hardline 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.

According to Chief Wingert, there are 450 residential accounts within municipal borders and those accounts generated $220,000 in fees in fiscal year 2014-15.

“This is one of the things that keeps me up at night because of concerns about the infrastructure,” Chief Wingert told the governing body at the work session discussion. “This is a decision that is going to expend some political capital for you, and I apologize for that.”

That decision equates to the creation of a hybrid system with the below characteristics:

  • Paradise Valley would outsource all equipment and software upgrades to an alarm company;
  • Paradise Valley would enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with that alarm business;
  • Paradise Valley would create a “pass through” system between the alarm business and the PVPD allowing current and future alarm program participants to send directly to the local dispatch center.

“We would need to seek a partner to do that, but it would free up come capacity at the department to focus on other projects — specifically a personnel program,” Chief Wingert pointed out of the $600,000 sitting in the town’s alarm system fund.

“Potentially, we could see increased subscription costs. My recommendation is to create a hybrid system to seek a partner to come up with an appropriate program.”

Paradise Valley Councilman David Sherf says he envisions the municipality will be able to negotiate a similar price for existing and new customers to the coming hybrid alarm system.

“Do you really think that our customers would see an increase?” he asked. “I mean we are dumping 450 accounts without having to market.”

A typical alarm service can cost up to $100 per month, Chief Wingert says his research provides.

“I am in favor of keeping it (the alarm service) and concur with the Chief’s recommendation,” said Paradise Valley Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner. “But our starting point should be less than $99 during that negotiation.”

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins says the alarm service is one cherished by residents.

“It is a service that is unique to our community,” he said of the town’s initial $105,000 investment in the early 1980s. “A lot of time went into it and the community took great pride that this program existed.”

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Maria Syms says she appreciates the local alarm program and would like to see it continue.

“I appreciate that extra level of security to know that it is not an outside party responding it is my police department,” she said. “I think if we do promote it residents will see the service as a valuable one we provide.”

Ms. Syms says she wants to see the municipality take an aggressive approach when negotiating alarm costs for residents through the inception of the hybrid system.

“We need to leverage our collective bargaining — I think we are in a strong negotiation position,” she said. “I think folks are willing to invest in public safety I would recommend to the police department and town leaders that we need to be out in front and be open and honest.”

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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