New Texas Law Puts Limits on City Alarm Response Policies


Texas has established a statewide alarm ordinance that puts
guidelines on alarm response policies for cities and also
sets a limit for how much a city could charge for an alarm
permit. It also doesn’t allow any Texas city to enact a
verified alarm response policy without holding public

The new law also authorizes cities in the state to require
alarm companies to adopt enhanced call verification (ECV),
where monitors must make two calls to attempt to reach an
alarm owner before dispatching police. Texas is the first
state to adopt an ECV provision.

After being approved by both houses of Texas’ state
government in May, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill
into law on June 17. It will go into effect on Sept. 1.

Malcolm Reed, chairman of the legislative committee for the
Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (TBFAA), agrees
with the legislation and calls it a cooperative step in the
right direction to reduce false alarms.

“We worked cooperatively with law enforcement and
legislators to ensure these standards were put in place to
reduce unnecessary dispatches,” Reed says. “This a landmark
piece of legislation for the industry because it creates
statewide standards in Texas.”

Among the standards are ordinances that force officers to
respond to a permitted burglar alarm no matter how many
false alarms have been committed as long as the false alarm
fines have been paid in full, though the new law also
allows a city to revoke an alarm permit after eight false
alarms within a year and end police response.

Under the new law, a Texas city can charge no more than $50
for a residential alarm permit and $100 for a commercial
permit. A limit has also been set on false alarm fines: No
more than $50 for four to five false alarms within a year;
$75 for five to seven false alarms in a year; and $100 for
eight or more within a year.

Alarm companies in Texas will now be required to distribute
to new alarm customers information on how to prevent false
alarms and operate the alarm system, as well as state the
city’s alarm ordinances. In addition, all alarm system
control panels installed in the state after Jan. 1, 2007
must comply with American National Standards Institute’s
(ANSI) standards for false alarm reduction.

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