Fla. Police Chiefs Adopt Alarm Model Ordinance

May 8, 2007 1:46 PM


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Florida has set another "first" in its efforts to manage burglar alarms and enhance public safety. Last month, the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) passed a resolution to adopt a Model Alarm Ordinance. The ordinance will be used by police chiefs across the state to develop and/or revise their jurisdiction's alarm management programs. It serves as the nation's first model alarm ordinance developed by a state police chiefs association.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), Frisco, Texas, and the Alarm Association of Florida (AAF) helped FPCA develop the ordinance. Last year all three groups supported a legislative bill that made Florida the first state in the country to fully enforce a statewide statue known as Enhanced Call Verification (ECV).

"Florida is setting the trend for successful alarm management across the country," says Stan Martin, executive director of SIAC. "We are proud to be part of this progressive movement and applaud our law enforcement partners in Florida as well as the Alarm Association of Florida for taking this initiative."

"By approving the Model Alarm Ordinance resolution, our board of directors passed a milestone for Florida law enforcement agencies looking to address the issue of alarm dispatches," says Chief Nolan McLeod, Auburndale Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. "We are moving in a positive direction and developing strong alarm management programs throughout the state."

SIAC helped develop the ordinance as part of the FPCA's new Alarm Management Committee. Four police chiefs and three members of the AAF also participated. The ordinance seeks to reduce false dispatches and the impact they have on police resources.

Its key measures include the following:
* Registration of alarm systems
* An escalating fine structure for alarm abusers who carelessly allow for repeat false dispatches
* Establishment of a system to accept the cancellation of alarms after accidental activations
* Ending police response to alarm users who fail to pay fines and/or permit fees
* An appeal process for people who disagree with fines or the cancellation of their police response
* The use of equipment that meets new quality standards that help prevent false activations
* ECV -- the practice of calling a back-up phone number to identify false alarms before dispatching police
* Establishing alarm awareness classes for the community

"The simple fact that FPCA created an Alarm Management Committee is monumental," says Martin. "Not only did they develop a model for reducing alarm dispatches, they also developed a model for how law enforcement agencies can work with the private sector to create equally beneficial solutions."

"The partnership with the alarm industry, SIAC, AAF and our organization's Alarm Management Committee is phenomenal," says Amy Mercer, executive director of the FPCA. "We look forward to long term successes."

Glen Mowrey, SIAC's National Law Enforcement Liaison who coordinates the committee's work, stated, "The successes we are experiencing in Florida are the direct result of the committee's vision, positive energy, and problem solving abilities."

"We tried to build a relationship with Florida police executives for years," says Bob Neely, AAF's Executive Director. "The recent development of the Alarm Management Committee has finally facilitated that partnership. We now have a strong relationship and the Model Alarm Ordinance is the fruit of that labor."

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