The Seattle Police Department will become one of the first major police departments in the United States to begin full enforcement of a law that mandates alarm monitoring companies place two verification calls to customers before contacting police.
The law was first adopted in 2004 to help reduce the volume of calls police departments receive from alarm monitoring companies. The Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) is generally not enforced by local police departments even though the policy has been adopted in many jurisdictions across the county.
“Many alarm companies understand the value of using ECV and are doing it voluntarily in every jurisdiction. Other alarm companies have yet to fully appreciate its value and for that reason enforcement is required,” Ron Haner, alarm response manager for the Washington Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA), tells SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION.
The Seattle ordinance requires registration of alarm companies who conduct business within the city limits. It is designed to reduce the number of false alarm activations by instituting measures which have been fully endorsed by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the WBFAA.
“Like numerous cities with ordinances adopted three or four years ago, after the initial 50 percent reductions resulting from ECV and the other industry best practices, they are looking for more. Some of those jurisdictions look for ways to ‘tweak’ their ordinance to squeeze out more reductions,” says Haner. “Seattle is aggressively doing that and working with the alarm industry in that effort.”
The Seattle Police Department will no longer respond to alarm monitoring company dispatch requests that have not followed the ECV procedure beginning January 1.
Alarm companies will also be required to become licensed with the city at the start of the new year. Each registered alarm company will be provided with a Unique Identification Number (UIN) that must be used when calling police and requesting a dispatch to a burglar alarm activation. Those calling police without a UIN will be turned away.