Missouri city part of new trend of outsourcing false alarm services

Police department believes shifting false alarm tracking and billing to a private company will save resources
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—With false alarms becoming a growing administrative nuisance, the police department in this city decided to do something that is now a burgeoning trend: Outsource its false alarm billing and tracking services to an IT company.

The Springfield Police Department has hired global IT giant PMAM, based in Irving, Texas, to collect unpaid fines and inform customers about system issues to avert future false alarms, which are often caused by installation flaws or dated systems.

Springfield Police Department Lt. Ben King, who communicated with other police departments that followed a similar path, says the move will save resources.

“The main thing we’re looking at is the amount of time saved on the administrative and billing portion,” he said. “We also saw benefits to the education they bring with their website.”

PMAM’s false alarm billing and tracking services were piloted at the police department in Richardson, Texas, where its combination of collection and billing services, and the educational components, proved successful at mitigating false alarms. PMAM touts its ability to increase public awareness as one of its most vital functions, especially considering strapped police departments can hardly hope to devote resources to such tasks.

In another recent instance of a police department outsourcing its false alarm billing to PMAM, the police department in Long Beach, N.Y. turned to the IT company in August 2012.

King said PMAM was a good fit because its services cater to both residential and commercial accounts.

While King says it’s too early to tell what kind of cost benefit the move will achieve, he believes the educational outreach supported by PMAM, if effective, could be the determining factor. “We’re going to have to see what the effects of [PMAM’s] education efforts are,” he said. “But if it works out, it’s going to free up a couple administrative positions that have spent a lot of time on false alarms.”