Warner Robins City Attorney now reviewing contract with false alarm company

City leaders tell public to ignore CryWolf

You could call it the story of the company that cried wolf.

The City of Warner Robins hired a company named CryWolf to cut down on the number false alarms from homes and business.

Now, Warner Robins Police are telling people to disregard any calls and letters from them.

Warner Robins signed a contract with CryWolf in November 2015.

Police said hundreds of false alarm calls every year had become a burden on the department.

But they say some people are concerned by the idea of CryWolf at the door.

It all started in July 2015 when the Warner Robins passed an ordinance cracking down on false alarm 911 calls.

The ordinance would fine businesses and homeowners after two false alarm calls, meaning the third false alarm would come with a $50 fine. Eventually, those fines climb to $300 after a tenth false alarm. The City also has the right to fine people for failing to register, that fine is $100.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Brett Evans says the number of false alarms has become a burden on the department.

“When we do our calculations on the number of false alarms on any commercial site we respond to, the money gets pretty high fairly quickly. To the tune of about two full time police officers a year is the kind of money we're talking about,” Evans said at the Law Enforcement Center.

The City entered a contract with a Maryland company, CryWolf, to help track the number of false alarms.

The company would get a cut every time a business or homeowner was fined. But, by July of 2016 the City put the plan on hold saying CryWolf was asking intrusive questions.

“They would call and ask questions such as, 'Do you have guns in the house?' And you know being in the community we're in and a community just in the south in general, a lot of people find that intrusive, they want to understand why this is another government look into what's going on in my home,” Evans said.

Police and the City say they never approved those questions.

Then, this month the company sent out letters asking people to re-register their alarms so police have now told the public to disregard any communications from CryWolf, according to a release they sent Monday.

City attorney Jim Elliott told WMAZ on Tuesday his office is now involved.

“My office has been asked to look at the contract and to look at what's taken place and we're still gathering information about communications between the city and the company and we'll get some direction from elected officials and those sorts of things,” Elliott said.

Elliott, the City Clerk, and the Warner Robins’ Chief Financial Officer all said on Tuesday that the City has not paid CryWolf, since its revenue was going to come from the collected fines.

Elliott said if elected officials vote to try and exit the contract, the false alarm ordinance would still remain in the City's code and would probably have to be revised.

Due to complications with CryWolf, the original ordinance passed in 2015 has not been implemented.

Chief Evans said responding to so many false alarm calls takes officers off the streets and away from real crimes and dangerous situations.

The Warner Robins Police Department also wanted to warn the public not to give out information to any other company claiming to be in business with Police to monitor false alarms. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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