Seattle Police Enforce 2-Call Alarm Verification Law

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department is one of the first major police departments in the United States to begin full enforcement of an enhanced call verification (ECV) law, mandating central stations to place two calls to alarm customers before contacting police.

Seattle police began enforcing the law, which was first adopted in 2004, on Jan. 1 and will no longer respond to dispatch requests that have not followed the ECV procedure. ECV is generally not enforced by local police departments even though the policy has been adopted in many jurisdictions across the country.

“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 that conduct business within the city limits. It is designed to reduce the number of false alarm activations by instituting measures that have been fully endorsed by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and 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.”

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