By Jay Meisel
JUPITER ISLAND - It's happened more than once, when a Jupiter Island resident accidentally set off a burglary alarm, law enforcement officers arrived before the alarm was reset or someone is notified that it is false.
That's because of a new alarm monitoring system the town put into place during last year, said Ted J. Gonzalez, chief of the Jupiter Island Public Safety Department.
The Jupiter Island Public Safety Department is the only agency using the Emizon System, which enables the department to instantly become aware of the alarm, Chief Gonzalez said.
For adopting the new system, the Jupiter Public Safety Department received the Rocky Pomerance award earlier this month at the Florida Police Chiefs Association conference in Fort Lauderdale.
The award was named after Mr. Pomerance who was recognized as "developing and implementing innovative approaches to policing," a press release said.
Mr. Pomerance, a former police chief of Miami Beach, died in 1994.
The alarm system that resulted in Jupiter Island receiving the award was installed at no cost to taxpayers, Chief Gonzalez said.
Private companies own the system and residents can become part of it by paying a small fee to upgrade their alarms, he said Most have done that, he added.
Chief Gonzalez said for 50 years the town had an alarm monitoring system, but it provided no information on the type of alarm.
Police had to wait until 7 to 11 minutes until an alarm company contacted them with information, he said. Now they get the information in seconds, Chief Gonzalez added.
The new system not only tells the type of alarm, but also possibly other information, he said.
That makes it safer for officers to respond, he said.
The town has had the alarm system for about a year and a half, he said.
When renovations were planned for the public safety building, he said, the town looked at moving its alarm system.
It discovered the antiquated system was no longer being supported by the company that issued it, he said.
After talking with various vendors, European companies proposed the system, he said.
Chief Gonzalez said Europe appears to be ahead of the United States in alarm monitoring technology.
"The United States is 10 years behind some of the European countries in security," he said.
The system, he said, uses the Internet.
Should there be an Internet outage or some other problem, it has a backup system, he said.
On a constant basis, the system "verifies there is a connection with the residence and the Internet," he said.
Although the system was adopted, it wasn't because Jupiter Island has an out-of-control crime problem, Chief Gonzalez said.
Jupiter Island has, on the average, 10 or fewer burglaries a year, he said.
"That's mostly because of our proactivity," he said.
That includes other measures to reduce crime, as well as knowing the residents of Jupiter Island, he said.
He said he was pleased to accept the award on behind of the public safety department, where he has worked for more than 30 years.
"I was very humbled by it," Chief Gonzalez said.