The objectives were simple: reduce the number of false alarms and increase revenue by timely collection of renewal fees, fines, and new permit fees. Under the proposal, PMAM was required to:
- Deliver software that accurately maintains and tracks false-alarm data
- Send alarm permit renewal applications to citizens
- Send alarm permit applications to residents who have unregistered alarms
- Generate daily "call data" reports
- Notify and/or invoice alarm owners who have excessive alarm activity
- Collect all fees
- Notify defaulters of overdue fees
- Reconcile accounts
- Identify and target alarm owners responsible for a high number of false alarms with educational material to increase awareness and inspire compliance
- Respond to all citizen inquiries in a timely manner
- Provide required information and reports to RPD and other city officials
Other vital objectives are enforcement and education. Once accurate and timely posting of data was obtained, patrol officers were able to enforce the ordinance by issuing citations to violators on the initial call. Education plays an important role. If permit holders are more aware of the causes of false alarms they tend to be more careful and avoid repeated false activations.
PMAM created a full-service, interactive web-based application – the FAMS™ solution. Our development team invested the time to understand the city’s requirements and leveraged their existing systems to seize cost advantages. The initial results were dramatic – the number of renewal applications increased and false alarms decreased.
In addition to cost advantages, increased revenue, and management functionality, the new system greatly improved customer service. Alarm owners were now provided online access to up-to-date information and billing/payment services designed to reduce the number of customer service phone calls. The system is secure and user-password protected. Additional enhancements included:
- Web-based, self-service capabilities for alarm owners
- Account history with dates and times of all calls at each alarm location
- Online bill payment
- Detailed invoice generation, with the history of all false alarms
- Track new and existing permits
- Customized false alarm and violation reports
- Billing notifications
- Collection services
- Administrator real-time summary information
Transition to the FAMS™ solution was seamless. All pertinent data was migrated from the city's existing alarm and accounts-receivable databases and accurately converted to populate the new system. Interfaces were developed to RPD's computer-aided dispatch and GIS systems to update the databases on a daily basis.
Analysis of archived data revealed that employee turnover was a significant factor in false alarms at businesses. PMAM responded by creating educational materials that officers could leave with employees when responding to a false alarm. Additional customer support is provided by PMAM representatives over the phone. Each PMAM customer has a dedicated support team with extensive training on FAMS™ and the city’s unique alarm ordinance and enforcement policies
FAMS™ is continually being improved based on input from RPD and other customers, and from our knowledge of alarm management gleaned from many customer implementations. PMAM has dedicated software specialists actively developing additional features, reports, and modules that are can improve the solution’s effectiveness. In addition to the existing reports, new reports were identified to view the effectiveness, efficiency, and accuracy of the information. Through the use of access passwords, RPD and city officials have complete transparency and access to all levels of the program.
The results: better accountability, higher compliance, informative invoicing, and the ongoing educational process have attained the city’s goal of reducing false alarms and optimizing the use of police resources. Because alarm information is now reliable, officers confidently enforce the ordinance at the scene.
The outsourced FAMS™ solution did not cause the loss of any city jobs. Instead, the effectiveness of the program has freed overburdened city personnel from the vast majority of alarm administrative duties. Police officers and city administrators can now focus on more productive city business, confident that the FAMS™ solution is managing false alarms.