Utah Police Say Alarm Association’s Efforts to Halt New False Alarm Law ‘Backfired’

SALT LAKE CITY—The Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) claims the Utah Alarm Association (UAA) has alienated police across the state by arguing against a new ordinance proposing fines for false alarms.

According to a release issued by Shanna Werner, alarms coordinator for SLCPD, UAA’s letter-writing campaign against a proposed ordinance and full-page advertisements the association placed in two state newspapers had a negative response from law enforcement.

SLCPD claims UAA’s ads, which appeared on Feb. 14, included statements, such as:

–  In order to stop responding to your alarm system, they [police departments] have gone, or soon will go to your city council with a one-sided, incomplete, misleading, self-serving and just plain false story. Alarm users and alarm dealers are not included in the discussion.

–  Burglary is not just a property crime. Murder, rape, assault and arson often accompany burglaries.

–  Burglar alarm dispatches are only 5 percent of all police dispatches. Since they are quickly disposed of, they are only 3 percent of their time.

“With a few strokes of their computer keys, UAA managed to alienate every police officer, police chief, city councilperson and mayor in the state of Utah. Jurisdictions that were formerly open to discussion on ordinances with the alarm industry are having second thoughts, and many police chiefs are taking a serious look at limited response policies,” says Werner.

Garren Echols, president of UAA, says Werner’s perception of the overall relationship between UAA and law enforcement in Utah is not really true.

“The advertisements run by UAA were in response to several articles written in the local papers that were very inflammatory toward the alarm association and alarm companies,” he says. “We didn’t do anything to offend them [Utah police].”

For the first time in Utah’s history, an alarm ordinance levies fines against the alarm industry as well as end users. In suburban West Valley City, a new law, passed November 1999, fines dealers $150 if they request police response on an account that does not have a permit.

The law also fines dealers $100 if they do not inform the end user of the ordinance

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