Merced working to cut down on false alarms

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Merced is working to improve emergency response times by cutting down on false alarm calls. (KFSN)

A new partnership aims to get officers to emergencies faster by cutting down the number of false alarms.

In updating their alarm ordinance, Merced city officials are working with PM AM Corporation to implement the false alarm reduction program.

"What we needed was additional help. To help manage it, and to make it easier for residents to obtain a permit and make it easier for citations with false alarm calls," Assistant city manager Stephanie Dietz said.

It will allow both home and business owners to get their permits online while the company will be responsible for registering those permits and billing customers.

LINK: Sign up for a Merced alarm permit

Stephanie Dietz said they currently don't have enough workers to process the citations. Along with helping process permits, she believes this will help free up officers for real emergencies.

"We can reach out to the alarm company, and send someone other than an officer to investigate first before we send an officer," Dietz said.

From 2016-2017, city officials said they had more than 4,000 alarms, but only about 150 of them were actual emergencies.

With about a dozen dispatchers, Merced communication supervisor, Marvin Dillsaver, said the false alarms can tie up a lot of their resources.

"A false alarm call requires two officers. Those have to be off the street and not handle other requests for services," Dillsaver said.

Dietz said while making the permit process more convenient; they hope to reinvest the increased revenue back into the police department.

The program goes live online July 1.
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