Madison Police Adopt Verification Standard

MADISON, Wis.

Starting next year, Madison (Wis.) Police will only respond
to private alarms at businesses and residences after
someone has verified that a problem exists.

The Madison City Council approved a change in the way the police department responds to private alarm systems. The move came after police officials said they were spending too much time responding to false alarms.

“We do not take this lightly,” said Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. “We need the officers available to provide services.”

According to Madison Police Officer Jason Sweeney, approximately 2 percent of businesses and residences in the city have an alarm system. Sweeney also told council members that between Jan. 1 and May 31, 99.6 percent of business alarm calls were false and 100 percent of those from home alarms were false.

The new policy, which will go into effect Jan. 1 of next year, will not apply to alarms activated by people, such as a panic button. Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, a proponent of the new verification ordinance, told the city council that police responding to verified calls only will have the same effect as adding three new officers to the police force.

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