Cornwall Police Service

2023-04-12 - Cornwall Police Service Launches New Verified Alarm Response Program

Publié le le 12 avril 2023

Cornwall, ON – Effective May 1st, 2023, the Cornwall Police Service (CPS) will be adjusting the way it responds to alarm calls for service in the City of Cornwall. The new “Verified Alarm Response Program” (VARP) will improve service delivery to residents and businesses in Cornwall.

VARP is designed to reduce the number of false alarm calls attended by the CPS. Officers will only be dispatched when alarms meet one or more of the verification criteria specified 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

In these above-noted circumstances, the alarm monitoring stations will be required to confirm whether police response is necessary.

In addition to the above, the CPS will 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.

The decision to move towards the new response model stems from a significant increase in alarm calls that ultimately end up deemed to be false alarms. 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. In 2022, CPS officers responded to 616 alarm calls for service, in which 99.7% of those alarms were deemed to be false.

“The move towards a Verified Alarm Response Program is something that is being implemented by police services across the province,” said Chad Maxwell, Inspector of Field Operations for the CPS. “The volume of false alarm occurrences in the City of Cornwall has been identified as consuming a significant quantity of police resources. By changing the way we respond to these calls, we are enabling our officers to spend more time focusing on other policing initiatives, including traffic enforcement, responding to priority calls for service, as well as fulfilling duties that support making Cornwall a safer community.”

There will no longer be registration and annual fees charged to businesses and residential alarm users by CPS with the new VARP service delivery model. The CPS will instead invoice the alarm agency an annual registration fee and any subsequent billing for false alarms at locations the alarm company monitors. As of May 1st, 2023, a flat fee of $150 will be applied for false alarms when police are required to attend.

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