Colorado Springs Police Seeks to Improve Security Alarm Response

A string of burglaries has prompted the Colorado Springs Police Department to adjust the way officers respond to burglary calls.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Springs Police Department are looking to change the way officers respond to intrusion calls due to an increase in burglaries in the area.

In 2014, Colorado Springs police have received 7,284 alarm dispatch calls – a rate that has increased in the past years, The Gazette reports. Of those calls, 97 percent to 98 percent are false.

To cut back on the false alarms, department instituted a permit program that required alarm users to pay $24 annually (or $12 for individuals ages 65 or older) to register their security systems. The program also enacted fees levied against people responsible for false alarms.

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The program also mandates enhanced call verification (ECV), where alarm companies are required to contact at least two people each time an alarm goes off to ensure it wasn’t accidentally tripped.

While the ordinance helps police cut back on answering false alarm calls, it doesn’t promise that Colorado Springs police officers will respond quickly when an actual alarm is tripped.

Such was the case in 2013, when Fort Carson Staff Sgt. David Dunlap and his pregnant wife, Whitney Butler, were killed when a teenage burglar entered their home.

The couple was driving back to their home after their alarm company, ADT, contacted the pair about a tripped alarm in their home. The alarm firm also contacted police, but no officers were available to immediately respond. Additionally, officers were not aware the couple was driving home to check on the alarm.

Officers arrived at the home 55 minutes after the alarm went off – following a report that two bodies had been found in the home.

Whitney Butler’s father, Kevin Butler, noted that the communication between police and alarm companies needs to improve, particularly when alarm users say they will respond to an alarm, The Gazette reports.

In an effort to improve response time, officers have started airing alarm dispatch calls over their radios to allow more officers who might be finishing a task to respond more quickly to an incident.

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Additionally, the police department has added more neighborhood watch groups throughout the city. Dispatchers are also asking alarm companies whether home or business owners said they would respond to the alarm.

In 2013, Colorado Springs police also began tracking areas in the city with high concentrations of recent burglaries. If officers notice a trend, they make sure alarm dispatches in that area receive the highest priority.

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