The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Aug 4, 2009

Once, Twice, Three Times the Security

Back in 2003 the City Council passed an ordinance with the explicit purpose of reducing false alarms. As you would expect, the legislation created a system of fines for businesses and homeowners whose alarms habitually went off in error.
(B) An alarm user shall pay a service fee of $150.00 for each false intrusion/burglar alarm, duress/hold-up alarm, or manually activated emergency assistance alarm notification emitted from an alarm system that is in excess of three false alarms in a permit year; $300.00 for each false fire, smoke, carbon monoxide or heat alarm notification emitted from an alarm system in a business in excess of three false alarms within a permit year; and $150.00 for each false fire, smoke, carbon monoxide or heat alarm notification emitted from an alarm system in a residence in excess of three false alarms within a permit year.
- § 9-3-13 City of Albuquerque Code of Ordinances
For those alarm systems that trigger more than 10 times in a year, the fine jumps to $500 per occurence. In addition, every alarm is required to have a permit.

Look, we don't have a problem with the fines. Those of us who use alarms have the responsibility to keep those alarms in good repair. However, we as taxpayers support the Albuquerque Police Department through our tax dollars. Charging $25 a year simply to have the use of an alarm regardless of whether it has ever been tripped is nothing but a money grab by the city. We get to pay extra taxes because we've taken steps to make sure our homes and businesses are more secure.

Yesterday, KOB-TV ran a story on the Armed Response Team. ART was a business quite literally created by Albuquerque's Alarm Systems Ordinance. Their business model is simple. When an ART covered alarm goes off, the Armed Response Team sends out a trained, armed professional to investigate the alarm. If there's evidence of a break-in, the ART responder contacts APD and waits for them to arrive.

ART's responders are made up of retired APD officers. In fact, ART was founded by a retired APD officer - Larry Sonntag.

Here's where things get a little strange... The City of Albuquerque has hired ART to provide alarm monitoring for its buildings.
The city just hired the Armed Response Team (ART) to follow up on alarms at about 40 city-owned buildings, like community centers.

ART's system includes several tiny, infrared cameras set up around the property. When people enter the area, an ART dispatcher finds out and watches what is happening in real time, then dispatches an officer.
Our Eyes tell us that one of the most frequent violators of the Alarm System Ordinance is the City of Albuquerque itself. So... In order to get a handle on their own violations, they brought in ART.
"For an Albuquerque police officer to respond to a burglar alarm is about $150. Our cost is significantly lower than that," said Sonntag.
Gee... we wonder where he got that $150 number. Seems as if the city is racking up those $150 fines fast enough to make it economical for them to bring in outside help. But of course, when has spending our money ever been one of The Almighty Alcalde's concerns?
Security Services

We provide uniformed security services at City-owned facilities in an effort to establish a safe and friendly environment for both visitors and employees.
The above is one of 12 services provided by the Department of Municipal Development. You'll note the heading reads "S-e-c-u-r-i-t-y S-e-r-v-i-c-e-s."

In fact, DMD is in charge of providing security for all city-owned buildings and facilities. Our question is... why is the city hiring an outside security firm to provide security at city-owned properties when they have their own security force?

Our Eyes tell us that one reason may be that ART was running ads telling prospective customers that APD's response time to alarms was up to 8 minutes. In an election year when we've just discovered that a SERIAL KILLER had been and still could be operating in Albuquerque, having a local business harping on slow APD response times isn't good for the bosses' election chances.

Besides, even that 8 minute number is misleading. That's the time that it takes for an officer to arrive after the call has been dispatched, not the time it takes for APD to arrive on scene following a call for help. Even more disturbing, Chief Schultz doesn't seem to care.

"Folks when I started this job [2]7 years ago, we were stacking calls. When Joe Bowdich started his job they were stacking calls. Who cares? Who cares if calls are waiting? I don't care if calls are holding."
It all boils down to this... The taxpayers of Albuquerque are paying not once, not twice, but three times to secure their public buildings. We're paying for APD. We're paying for DMD security. And now - thanks to a bad ordinance and mayor worried about yet another public safety embarrassment - we're paying for ART.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd mention that Mr. Mark E. Mabry, the guy who signs off on the red light camera tickets and the guy who represents the City as their "expert" witness in STOP fine appeals, is a member of the ART.

Anonymous said...

Who sponsored this bill?

Anonymous said...

This is an informative post. But if you're arguing that Chavez has an ulterior motive for contracting A.R.T., shouldn't you also address the fact that this does... in fact... save the taxpayers money? This seems to be the root of your complaint. Yes, the city buildings are already "staffed" by "security" personnel. But the fact of the matter is that the security personnel don't respond to these alarms. So the A.R.T. is a significant upgrade over the situation as it stands now. Contracting the Armed Response Team is an improvement.

And please stop harping on that Schulz quote which you continue to rape out-of-context. I was present at that particular briefing (the soundbite). He made that statement in regards to officer safety and taking calls alone. He meant that he'd rather calls stack and hold than have officers taking calls by themselves. As an APD officer, I dislike Schulz as much as the next guy... but taking quotes out-of-context discredits you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe DMD security should take over the ART, wait, Shepherd already is having them act like cops, with out training, vests, or weapons, yet all his stupidvisors have brand new vehicles,(at least 25k each), new office equipment, (can you say 2000 dollar desks?), and the officers are left holding the bag. Redundancy? You think? If nothing else, the security officers could be manning the community centers and other city property, but there's no money in the budget for more officers, just more supervisors, and all THEIR new toys.

Please Think for me said...

As an APD officer, I dislike Schulz as much as the next guy... but taking quotes out-of-context discredits you.

August 5, 2009 4:33:00 AM MDT

Really....?

Yeah, It's us that read it, and heard it wrong. "We" were not there so what "We" heard on tape is NOT what was said to mean, when he said what he said....????

I get it!

I quess when he also commented on a study released by The FBI that crime was on the rise in Albuquerque, and I quote "Crime is not on the rise. It's just that more people are reporting crime".

I or shall I say "We" read that wrong and "We" weren't there so "We" could not possibly think for ourselves and form an idea as to if "We" think this Chief is outta touch w/ what's actually the truth.

Anonymous said...

Where is the competitive bid process for this contract???????

Anonymous said...

Two posts up. What does citing another unrelated quote by Chief Shulz have anything to do with the quote in discussion? "He's said stupid shit before so it's totally ok to pick apart every speech he gives and hammer him on choice phrases out-of-context?" Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? This is really no better then popping in with a "That's what she said!" every time someone says something resembling inuendo.

""Folks when I started this job [2]7 years ago, we were stacking calls. When Joe Bowdich started his job they were stacking calls. Who cares? Who cares if calls are waiting? I don't care if calls are holding.""

This quote is out...of...context. It was a statement made in reference to officers being pressured to take long-holding calls by themselves. If you were in fact "there" (seriously, lay of the quotation marks when they're not warranted), you would realize this. Either that, or you're just an ignorant fool who can't think farther than one sentence at a time.

Anonymous said...

The 5th floor is in defensive mode, read the posts above.

Anonymous said...

Stacking calls 27 years ago? BS! Need I say, that was 1982? More like stacking doughnuts back then!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Akal also has a contract with the city. which costs the city one million dollars a year. They work the parking structures and civic plaza during events and liquid waste on south second street and at times when needed one of solid wastes facility on the north side of town. They are are also used in other areas of the city when needed.

Anonymous said...

Chief Schultz is doing a fine job, at least he hasnt been fired like that last baffoon chief.

Anonymous said...

Schultz shouldn't consider alarms
and phone ringings as nuisances.

Anonymous said...

who cares? who cares

Anonymous said...

The only reason that the chief hasn't been fired is that SMarty couldn't afford the political humiliation of having to fire another chief which he picked!

Anonymous said...

Personally, Im hoping for a "wise Latina" to save us

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha!!

Anonymous said...

why does AART get the contract, well thats too easy to answer. The original owner was in all sorts of trouble and left so they would not lose their license. Why does the city need AART when there are people in that building 24-7? Is the police station going to get a "This property is protected by AART" sticker on all of its doors? heehehhehehehehehe

James Douglas said...

A fine for false alarms? Almost seems like an okay idea. People will just have to look into a higher quality home security system in Albuquerque, NM.