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Chan steps out on alarms

City Council Candidate Sue Chan strengthened her language on burglar alarms today. After saying in the first candidate forum that the city needed to reconsider it’s policy on not responding to  unverified alarms, she sent out a mass email today saying that she will “insist” that police respond to burglar alarms.

Here’s the main paragraph from her statement:
Everyone wants the police officers and firefighters to come when you call.  Unfortunately, in Fremont the Police don’t respond to Burglar Alarms, and our Fire Stations have been on rotating “brown outs” in the past.  I understand the budget constraints, but I think we should restore the response to burglar alarms.  I am proud to be the first candidate to take this position.   My opponents have flip-flopped on this issue because they know I am listening and empowering the voices of my neighbors, friends, and fellow business owners in Fremont, I am saying what people want.  I will insist that our police respond to burglar alarms so that we can protect ourselves in the safety of our homes and our small businesses.   

I’m not sure she was the first candidate to take that stand. Alan Stirling has been harping on the issue for awhile.

Matt Artz

  • Californiaguy

    Where is it written that our tax dollars be spent on subsidizing a for profit conpany. That is what a burgaler Alarm Company is a for PROFIT company. They have security guards that can be the first responders and if there is a problem the police would be there promptly.
    Fact: 90 some Percent are false alarms, talk about wasting Fremonts limited police assets.
    Fact 2
    It creates a class system of police protection, those that can offord burgaler alarms would get better police protection than those without, is that fair?
    Just another reason not to vote for Chan!

  • Jim

    I agree with CaliforniaGuy. A large number are just false alarms, and our police don’t have the resources for that. With our current situation, it is impossible for her to insist upon this. She got it right in saying that she is just “saying what people want (to hear)”. I know on an occasion or two, I’ve been a guilty homeowner myself… ;) Sorry people!

  • Jennie

    I do not advocate the city charging us homeowners for a service they do not provide. Why do I have to pay for the alarm permit every 2 years if I get no service?

    If I pay for a service, I expect to receive the service.

  • Robert

    Chief Steckler has repeatedly stated the facts on this issue and the current plan has worked for the COF given the budget at hand. What we need is more patrolling officers not a a mandate on what they should patrol. Let the Police do police work don’t force them to respond to bogus alarms! Ms. Chan is out of touch and it is unfortunate that this is her bullet point for her platform.

  • Diamond

    All of her rich Mission hills neighbors probably wanted her to take up this pathetic platform.

  • Ruby

    Funny how the rest of the major candidates changed their position and now say that the police need to respond to alarms, AFTER Suzanne publicly stated it in the forum that the article mentions.

  • Doug

    Fremont is not alone on this issue:
    Pittsburg adopts fees for alarm systems
    By Paul Burgarino
    Article Launched: 09/16/2008 07:46:04 AM PDT

    PITTSBURG — In hopes of reducing the number of false alarms police respond to in Pittsburg, city leaders approved Monday an ordinance requiring a use permit to operate private alarm systems.

    The permits, which would apply to current and future alarm owners, will cost residents $65 per year and businesses $95 annually. The fees would help recoup administration costs, city officials said.

    Police department staff time and resources are frequently wasted responding to false or faulty alarms, resulting in unnecessary spending of city money, Lt. Wade Derby said. The ordinance allows Pittsburg to license and regulate alarms in the city and protect public safety by tracking alarms and contacting the owner if an alarm is triggered, he said.

    The decision sets a fee of $250 for each false alarm from an unregistered alarm system.

    The council voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance. Councilman Michael Kee cast the lone dissenting vote, saying the fee put an unfair extra financial burden on residents.

  • Ruby

    Doug, thanks for the article, their plan makes a lot of sense.

    Jennie, you hit the nail on the head. We have to pay for an alarm permit and no one will respond – how does that make any kind of sense?

    Sue wins my vote for this.

  • Susan M.

    Ruby: first where did you see “all the major candidates” change their position after Chan sent out this email? Everyone has been saying that it would be nice if our police had the resources to respond to burglar alarms, but they simply DO NOT have the resources…Just because someone says: “Yeah, I know about the budget constraints, but I think our city should respond to alarms”. Any one can say that, but the question is How?? We need sound policy and insurance that it is not going to be a waste of precious time for our police officers. While we are at it, I think that all of Fremont’s uninsured should have health insurance, and all of its homeless should have a roof over their heads, and all of the overcrowded schools should get relief and all of the traffic should be taken care of. All talk, no substance. There is no way to implement this with our current resources. Be realistic.

  • Ruby

    You said you went to the last debate. If that’s true you would have heard them change their position.

  • English Teacher

    I am glad you bring that up. Sue Chan has actively raised funds, organized events and provided healthcare for the uninsured.

  • Debra_Sick&Tired

    Ruby -

    Are you Sue Chan’s son?
    Please stay off the blogs.

  • Entertaining Fremont Race

    Sue Chan has actively raised funds? More like her supporter Dutra has actively raised her campaign for her. She’s organized events? More like she’s attended events. She’s provided health care for the uninsured? More like she’s her husbands receptionist and signs off forms that health care insurances pay for the uninsured that come to her husband. See her website and go under About Sue Chan.http://www.suechanforfremont.com/sue_chan_fremont_about.html I don’t know where you get your information from English teacher please get it right since you are one of her staff members.

    Not be harsh, but Sue Chan is starting to remind me of Sarah Palin…..

    I’m not sure which candidate is good enough right now since there’s so many running, but Mrs. Chan is not my choice.

  • Jon Simon

    Steckler has made a solid argument against responding to unconfirmed alarms. Until someone can give a cogent argument about the value of responding to them, there’s no reason to change the policy. As for alarm permits, it seems unfair to pay without the city providing a connected service.

  • Jim

    They cannot respond to every alarm. There are just too many false alarms. How do you propose they do that, Sue Chan? Sending out an email that you think they should, and not providing a plan to implement that is completely useless to the voters. Ha! It does sound a little like Sarah Palin! Funny analogy.

  • Ruby

    No I’m not Sue Chan’s son. I am a Sue Chan supporter. I agree with you though Debra, you are sick and tired.

  • Ruby

    How many false alarms are there?

    How does one quantify how many false alarms are there if none are being responded to?

    To be clear, you believe that police should not respond to police alarms? Wow.

  • bbox231

    “How many false alarms are there ?”

    Answer – it doesn’t make any difference PROVIDED that the alarm fee structure covers costs of officer time to respond to ALL alarms (including the real ones !)

    “99% of False Alarms are “false – why expend limited resources to respond to these false alarms ”

    Answer – because the resources aren’t LIMITED IF those who are demanding the services are PAYING FOR THEM !!!!!!! (Why can’t the naysayers on this argument GET a simple economic fact ???) Should we (for example) get rid of 30% of our current Police Force if they spend only 70% of their time responding to real crimes ??? No one would suggest that we do so – but this is the same argument Steckler has used to rationalize the no-response issue.

    EVERY CITY IN AMERICA has the same kinds of economic problems and challenges we face – ask yourself why do some choose to solve this problem by cancelling services and some solve this problem by raising fees ?

    What’s the difference in quality of life in cities that charge for a response and a permit to operate a residential alarm versus those that simply cancel a service to its taxpayers ?

    What’s the difference between a constituency that is “told” that a service is no longer going to be supplied versus a city that works with its taxpayers to maintain (but pay for) basic services ?

  • Jon Simon

    I’m not sure the police department would feel comfortable basing hiring of several officers off of an alarm fee. As the economy turns sour, many will cut off their alarms or not pay the higher fees and the PD would have to lay officers off AGAIN, after spending public money to hire and train new officers AGAIN. If you really want more officers, that’s great, but even with several more, checking false alarms is a waste of resources.

    Ruby, yes, police should never check alarms unless there’s a human confirmation of something happening.

  • English Teacher

    Suzanne Chan is a wonderful person who is listening to folks who have a genuine concern from residents.

    Is it possible to have a genuine debate about ISSUES without attacking the candidate on a personal level with lies “Entertaining” and “Diamond”?

    It’s funny that Debra thinks that someone who talks to the issue should “stay off the blogs” but condones these genuine attacks…speaks loads about credibility.

    And by the by, Ruby has a right to voice whatever she wants on this board, how arrogant of you Debra.

  • Susan M.

    Ruby, I can tell you are a Sue Chan supporter by that question. The way you quantify the number of false alarms is through statistics from past experience and through extrapolation. The majority of alarms are false. “To be clear”, I believe that with the limited resources we have, our police CANNOT respond to false alarms until, as Jon said, there is confirmation that there is truly a need to do so. You, and your candidate need to get a clue (so do you, English Teacher).

  • erica

    I will vote for any candidate that will work to raise the number of police officers in Fremont. Currently, my neighborhood is overrun by both daytime and nightime burglaries. It is just a matter of time before a mother, grandmother or child confronts a criminal in their home. I am afraid to come home with my small children during the day. Many of these homes were actually alarmed but the criminals entered in uncontemplated ways. I don’t think this candidate has the answer but we all deserve to feel safe and any city official should make it a priority to give the Fremont police the tools and resources they need to make this happen. In my hometown, the police would be regularly patrolling the neighborhood.

  • bbox231

    Wow – Jon Simon is practically a spokesperson for Craig Steckler on this point.

    Let me take it slowly here, Jon – you try and follow.

    All city demanded services vary based on loads of external factors. You are correct that perhaps the alarm rates might vary to the point that there are so few “false” alarms that we dont need additional officers to respond to these unwanted calls – and hallelujia we’ve accomplished our goal – NOW the alarms are all real !!!!!

    In the meantime, those who want an officer to respond to an alarm – PAY FOR THE privledge – (as opposed to paying a 3rd party service organization who makes a profit doing so)

    The variability of false alarm rates is a straw man fostered by those who simply dont want to deliver a service any longer and who are unwilling to consider how to keep the service delivered to constituency because THEY’VE decided what’s best for the community.

    It’s kinda like cutting hours at the library, Jon.
    Or no longer surfacing your streets, or spending millions on redevelopment without producing anything tangible. . . . ONLY in this case – there’s another alternative. . . . but, your city manager, your mayor, your current city council can’t seem to find a way to continue to deliver a service AND make money doing so.

    Heck, Jon – I’ll bet there’s all kinds of variables in planning for a city budget. . . . . factors swing up an ddown wildly – as evidenced by your city “surplus” that was discovered only weeks after we thought we were in economic straits. Economic uncertainty is a fact of life for city managers – they work with it all the time.

    Forget the reasoning and logic I’m trying to get across to you. . . . . maybe I am biased, maybe I have my own agenda.

    Ask yourself one question – how is it that other cities with the same economic “variability” you sight as an excuse for not pursuing this solution -have found that it makes sense to charge for this “false alarm” service ????????

  • Robert

    bbox231-

    Your argument and position seem to be put together well. I am not sure that Sue Chan has the same position, if she did then I might be able to support her, but my interpretation of her position is to that she wants to force our police to respond to alarms regardless of resources. If I have misinterpreted it then I would love clarification from her or someone from her staff on this board.

  • bbox231

    Thanks, Robert – I appreciate your sentiment.

    I am unclear on Susan Chan’s position as well. I believe she (and others) are very slowly beginning to realize that perhaps there IS an alternative to our current direction.

    Vinnie Bacon figured it out a long time ago. (And – yes – I am a fan of Vinnie Bacon – but hardly because of his clarity on this singular point)

    Susan Chan *has* stated that she will “take a hard look at” the non-response policy. Make of it what you will.

    I personally speculate that those candidates who have chosen to remain silent on this point will, in time, continue to look more and more like the council members they seek to replace.

  • bbox231

    I stand corrected, Robert – Susan Chan has indicated that she will “insist” that response to residential alarms be restored.

    I stand by my comments re “silent” council and Mayoral candidates.

  • http://www.alanstirlingforfremont.org Alan Stirling

    Ms. Chan is not the first one to to speak out about alarm response. Shame on her for lying so blatantly. Alan Stirling was the first starting in 2005 and continiously during my previous campaign, It was the first thing I mentionioned in the first forum we had this year and at that time Ms Chan was againsst the mandatory response by Fremont P.D. Ms chan is endorsed by the same failed incubants that created this travesty. See my website http://www.alanstirlingforfremont.org and you can “verifiy” that I speak truth to issues and speak early.