Judge Rejects Bid to Block Alarm Policy


A judge denied a bid May 8 by the alarm industry for an
injunction to block the Los Angeles Police Department’s
policy that would end police response to unverified burglar

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David A. Jaffe rejected the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association’s (GLASAA) arguments that the policy approved by the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners in January violates a city ordinance on alarms, state law and a requirement that neighborhood advisory councils be given advance notice of such decisions.

Jaffe said there is nothing in state law or the city ordinance that requires police response. The city ordinance “is silent on the question of when the police department is obligated to send a unit in response to a burglar alarm,” Jaffe wrote.

Lawyers for the alarm industry argued that department policy requiring visual verification was out of step with the city ordinance that requires alarm companies try to contact an alarm site by telephone before calling police. “This ignores what alarm users want,” said George Gunning of U.S. Alarm Systems Inc. and former president of the California Alarm Association (CAA).

“I think it was a bad decision,” Gunning adds. “I don’t understand having an ordinance on the books that conflicts with the special order.”

Arthur Fine, an attorney for the alarm companies, said the group will wait for the police commission to review the issue May 13. A task force set up by the Los Angeles City Council has recommended that verification be required only at locations that have experienced three false alarms in one year.

Depending on what the commission decides, Fine says the group plans to file for an appeal.

Fine argued that the commission’s decision violates a city ordinance requiring neighborhood advisory councils be notified in advance. The judge held that lack of communication was not a reason to invalidate the policy.

Police Commission President Rick Caruso said he was pleased with the ruling, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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