Tennessee Amends Law to Implement Statewide ECV

Tennessee has amended a state alarm law to adopt enhanced call verification (ECV) and will require monitoring companies to call two phone numbers before notifying police.

Tennessee becomes the second state in the country to fully enforce statewide ECV, following a similar statute last year in Florida.

The amendment, which seeks to reduce false dispatches and the impact they have on police resources, mandates ECV be employed for all burglar alarm signals except for hold-up alarms.

Calling a second number such as a cell phone can frequently disqualify alarms as false, thereby preventing the unnecessary dispatch of police to the scene, according to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

Several municipalities around Tennessee have previously implemented ECV in their jurisdictions, according to John Knox, who is entering his third year as a member of the false alarm management committee for the Tennessee Chiefs of Police Association.

“You learn very fast there is a big concern with law enforcement to do anything to cut down on false dispatches,” Knox told SSI. “They have only so much manpower they can budget.”

Knox is also the legislative chair for the Tennessee Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (TBFAA), which became proactive about adopting a statewide ECV program after Florida’s action.

TBFAA members voted to pursue ECV during their annual meeting in October 2006, and later presented the proposal to the chiefs of police association.

“We brought this to them and they thought it was a great idea,” says Knox. “This is an example of us working together [with law enforcement] instead of working apart.”

The amendment was presented to the legislature in February, Knox says, who is president of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Life & Property Security Systems. Passed unanimously by the legislature, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed the amendment into law May 15.

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