False Alarm Update: Los Angeles and Salem

LOS ANGELES

The Los Angeles Police Commission has decided not to
reconsider enacting a total verified response policy after
a report that false alarm responses have gone down 6
percent since Los Angeles enacted a limited
verified response policy
Jan. 1
. The report, compiled
by commission staff member Lt. Debra Kirk, also showed that
false alarm responses were down 21 percent in February 2004
compared to February 2003.

Members of the commission
had said at its March 16
meeting
that they were leaning toward reconsidering a
total verified response policy for Los Angeles at its April
6 meeting because the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm
Association (GLASAA) had not provided a complete list of
its customers to help confirm alarm permit fulfillment.
However, it was announced at the April 6 meeting that
GLASSA had completed submissions from 100 percent of its
members.

With that, any discussion of reconsidering the policy was
tabled and instead turned to a presentation by the staff of
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn on what they say is the
success of the new policy.

A two-alarm dispatch policy, where police no longer respond
to unverified alarms at addresses with more than two false
alarms, was enacted on Jan. 1 as a compromise by Hahn from
a total verified response policy where officers would only
respond to an alarm if it was verified by someone at the
location or through remote electronic visual inspection.

With the commission now back on board with the policy, the
alarm policy discussion returns to the Los Angeles City
Council, which is debating an amended alarm ordinance
drafted by the city attorney’s office designed to
eliminate “free false alarms.” The proposal, HREF=t_ci_newsView.cfm?nid=1491>first revealed by
Councilwoman Janice Hahn at GLASAA’s Feb. 17 meeting
,
includes a $115 fee for the first false alarm and an
additional $50 incrementally added for each subsequent
false alarm within a year.

It is still unclear when the council will vote on the
proposal.

In other false alarm news:

SALEM, Ore.: The implementation of verified response
in Salem, Ore., has been delayed while the city’s council
hammers out changes to the city’s alarm permit system.

The council unanimously
approved a new policy on March 8
where alarms would be
responded to by police only after they had been verified by
someone at the site or through electronic surveillance.

While Salem’s police department was authorized to
immediately enact the policy, police officials say that
they also want an end to their collecting of alarm permit
fees and fines.

“What I’m trying to do is get to police department out of
the business of collecting fines. We need to get the
officers out there catching bad guys,” Sgt. Steve Bellshaw,
a Salem internal affairs officer who leads the departments
anti-false alarm effort, told Security Sales &
Integration
. “[The council] gave us half of what we
asked for, which is we have verified response. What the
city council didn’t make a decision on was to take away
permit system.”

Bellshaw says he expects to supply a proposal on the permit
system to the council in May and expects the council to
debate it in July. Bellshaw says after the proposal is
approved, the department will give alarm companies a 30-day
warning before initiating verified response.

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