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About Verified Response

VIDEO: Example of why police should respond and not citizens (actual event) VIDEO-1
VIDEO: News clip on Dallas repealing Verified Response: VIDEO-2

Though the alarm industry works very closely in partnership with vast majority of law enforcement, in the last few years a handful of agencies in the U.S. have passed ordinances or policies that severely restrict response to burglar alarm systems.

It is the industries position, based on consumer/customer input that response by a well trained law enforcement professional with arrest powers is a vital part of the deterrence that alarm systems provide. In fact anything short of this is a compromise. That said, the industry acknowledges that factors such as the economy and limited resources could at times impact response times on all lower priority calls.

Removing or restricting response to alarm calls is a restriction of core municipal services and as such any decision to do so should be done with the full knowledge of the general public. At a minimum the industry endorses an open line of communication between officials, both elected and appointed, the public and the alarm industry. Under ideal circumstances there should be a group with representatives from all affected parties that studies the issue and makes recommendations back to the elected body. At the very minimum public hearings should be held with an opportunity for all affected parties to comment.

If all of these steps are taken and the final decision is that a community cannot support continued response to burglar alarm calls by the [police then the industry would support that decision with the following caveats.

  • No restriction should be applied to robbery or panic type alarms.
  • Sufficient time should be provided to allow a smooth transition to a private response.
  • Enhanced verification techniques and equipment should qualify as additional verification.
  • Full restriction of services should only be applied to those that abuse the privilege.

In the end when a community makes the decision to adopt a position that restricts core services it is imperative that you as a citizen/ voter/ tax payer avail yourself of every opportunity to speak publicly on the issue. When it is left to the industry to present your position the argument carries significantly less weight than when you speak.

If we are to encourage legislative bodies to hold public hearings; then it is imperative that you stand up for your own rights.

A police policy or ordinance that requires property owners, hired guards, or other eyewitness to go to the scene of an alarm and verify a crime or attempted crime has taken place, before police will respond.

First proposed in the 1980's, verified response has gained little traction with the law enforcement, elected officials or the public. Instead innovative, technology-based solutions have significantly reduced police dispatches, generated additional revenue for cities and provided the response by well-trained law enforcement professionals that citizens consider a core police service.

For example, Olympia, Washington enacted a model alarm ordinance in 2004, which reduced calls to the police by 84%. In Montgomery County, Maryland, alarm dispatches have decreased by 70% despite a more than 300% increase in alarm systems.

Data from across the country shows that the best alarm policies include:

  • Requirements for registration of alarm systems
  • Escalating fines for false alarms
  • Terminating response after three or four false alarms in a 12-month period
  • The use of modern (CP-01) alarm panels designed to curtail false alarms
  • Multiple calls to customers (Enhanced Call Verification) to ensure the alarm was not accidentally activated

Today, fewer than 30 police agencies out of 18,000 have some form of verified response. Los Angeles rejected the idea after an in-depth review that included input from the entire community. The City of Dallas adopted but quickly ended verified response due to overwhelming public opposition and the potential loss of more than $1 million in revenue.

Verified response is such an unpopular concept that its few proponents recommend keeping their proposals for verified response a secret to avoid opposition from the public.

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