DALLAS — The Dallas City Council ignored Police Chief David Kunkle’s recommendations and recently repealed its verified response burglar alarm policy.
With the 11-4 vote, police officers began automatically responding to all commercial alarm calls effective Oct. 1.
The repeal of the verified response policy marks the beginning of another chapter in the alarm industry’s continued efforts to reduce false alarms and enhance public safety, says Chris Russell, president of the North Texas Alarm Association (NTAA).
“Some may view this as a reason to relax, but we need to continue to work from all directions to significantly reduce the number of false alarms to the extent that verified response will not even be considered again,” Russell says.
A majority of council members argued that alarm calls should be answered by officers — not business owners or private security guards who, under the policy, had to verify a sounding alarm’s validity before police would respond.
Chief Kunkle stridently argued before the council that verified response allows him to use scant police resources to respond to more pressing emergencies. At a recent meeting, the chief told council members that he knows of no increase in crime attributable to verified response and that more than 97 percent of activated burglar alarms are ultimately ruled false.
The Sept. 12 vote comes nearly two years after the council voted 8-5 to institute verified response for businesses. Russell says his organization wants to form a committee of residents and city officials to explore ways to reduce false alarms.
“We will continue to reach out to local officials and continue our active participation in the False Alarm Reduction Association to network with officials from throughout the U.S. and Canada,” Russell says. “We believe that networking with public safety is essential to our collective effort to improve the safety of alarm users and citizens alike.”