Verified Alarm Response Program
The volume of false alarm occurrences in the City of Cornwall has been identified as consuming a significant quantity of police resources.
In 2000, the Cornwall Police Services Board established a False Alarm Reduction By-Law, for the registration of alarm systems in or on any building, structure, facility or premises. This would require the registered alarm user to pay a fee associated to police attending a false alarm call.
Despite efforts to reduce the number of false alarm calls, false alarms continue to account for the majority of alarm calls for service to the Cornwall Police Service (CPS). In 2022, false alarms accounted for 99.7% of the total alarm calls.
As such, the CPS has adopted a Verified Alarm Response Program to improve the quality of service we provide to alarm owners in our community, while remaining focused on our vision of “A Safer Cornwall.”
By implementing a Verified Alarm Response Program, we allow our officers to spend more time on the duties that make our community a better, safer place to live, work and play. Similar programs have already been adopted by other police services in London, Hamilton, Niagara, Waterloo and Toronto, with great success.
WHAT IS VERIFIED ALARM RESPONSE?
Verified alarm response requires that alarm companies, monitoring centres and citizens to verify an alarm, confirming signs of criminal activity before police are dispatched. Members will only be dispatched when alarms meet one or more of the verification criteria below:
- Audio sensors that provide the alarm agency or monitoring service with the ability to confirm criminal activity by the sounds detected within the premise;
- A video system that provides the alarm agency or monitoring service with the ability to confirm criminal activity through visual images;
- Confirmation made by an owner, key holder, an alternate response agency, or a witness on scene who can confirm the existence of a suspected criminal act; or
- Multiple activation points and the alarm agency or monitoring system determines the manner or sequence of activation indicates that suspected criminal activity is, or has taken place
The CPS shall continue to provide immediate response to panic/hold-up/duress alarms when there is reason to believe that a crime is in progress or an emergency exists. Verification of a panic alarm is NOT required as the safety of the community is paramount.
Every alarm agency that may request that CPS respond to an alarm incident in the City of Cornwall shall register that alarm agency with the CPS. Alarm agencies are required to pay an annual registration fee in the amount of $100.00.
When a CPS officer is dispatched or required to attend at a building, structure or premises as a result of an alarm incident that is determined to be a false alarm, the alarm agency will be invoiced in the amount of $150.00 per occurrence.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I am an alarm client. How will this effect me? Owning and operating an alarm system involves a private contract with a private and for-profit business that is providing a private service. The CPS recommends that alarm clients contact their alarm dealer and/or monitoring station to discuss current alarm system set-up, alarm settings and response options. Existing registered users will no longer be contacted by the CPS for billing or registration purposes. This will all now be completed at the discretion of the alarm company.
When will the requirement for verified response be implemented?Verified response becomes effective on May 1, 2023. Confirmation has been communicated to all registered monitoring stations and posted on our website. All existing registered alarm users will be contacted with details of the change.
My alarm was previously registered with the CPS. Do I need to do anything?Alarm users are encouraged to contact their alarm company to discuss their contract. All billing will now be facilitated directly to the alarm company, rather than the alarm user or business.
I have an outstanding payment from a false alarm invoice prior to VARP being implemented. What should I do?Contact the CPS Alarms Coordinator at 613-933-5000 ext. 2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
If my Central Monitoring Station receives an invoice for a false alarm but there was a break and enter, what do I do? If you return home or to your business and discover that in fact the premise was broken into you must immediately contact the Cornwall Police Service. The call taker will create a call for service.
What is considered a panic alarm? “Panic Alarm” means an alarm (hold-up alarm or a duress alarm) is an electronic device or button which, when manually engaged, transmits an alert of an emergency situation in which a threat to a person exists. The CPS shall provide immediate response to panic/hold-up/duress alarms when there is reason to believe that a crime is in progress or an emergency exists. Verification of a panic alarm is not required as the safety of the community is paramount. It is the responsibility of the alarm agency or monitoring service to notify the Communications Center that a panic alarm has been engaged.
What is considered "multiple activation points?" “Multiple Activations Points” means when more than one point of the alarm system are activated simultaneously or in a logical sequence.
Who will be billed if my residence or business has a false alarm where police respond?Police will be invoicing the Alarm Monitoring Company who would have contacted police to respond to the alarm call.
Who needs to register in order for police to respond to an alarm call?It is the responsibility of the Alarm Monitoring Stations to register with the Cornwall Police Service on an annual basis. Alarm users, such as businesses and residential clients of alarm companies are no longer required to register their alarms with the Cornwall Police Service.
Tips to Reduce False Alarms:
- Identify any air drafts/leaks that may cause plants or curtains to blow or move.
- Insist your keypad is easily accessible from the entry/exit points.
- Replace your battery back-up every three years.
- Insist your system has a cancel signal.
- Request annual maintenance checks by your alarm company.
- When re-modeling or adding pets, inform your alarm company.
- Ensure ALL key holders are trained in the proper use of the system.
- Never provide a key to someone who is not familiar with your alarm system.
- Make sure your Central Monitoring Station has up to date key holder information and that those key holders are willing to attend should police require them.
- Keep pets, cobwebs, balloons, fax machines and fans away from motion sensors.
- Cornwall Police Services Board By-Law No. 1, 2023
- Alarm Agency/Monitoring Company Registration Form (Coming Soon)