The security alarm industry has been working cooperatively with law enforcement for decades to reduce false dispatches, but success is being measured in new and different ways. This transition occurred because the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) moved the focus of our work from reducing the percentage of alarms that were false to reducing the number of calls for service.
The shift in focus resulted in the development of the Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) alarm response protocol. The ECV protocol requires monitoring centers to call the user's primary number first and, if they do not get an answer, a second numberâ€”usually a cell phone. The local law enforcement agency is not contacted unless there is no answer at either number or if a break-in is confirmed.
ECV is the latest alarm management initiative built on the Model States Program and Model Ordinance, products of a collaboration of the IACP, National Sheriffs Association (NSA), and National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA).
Criticom International, one of the nation's leading contract central stations, recently announced to their dealers that they are adopting ECV. Criticom joins scores of regional and national companies who have already implemented the new protocol. The industry's support of ECV and the Model States Program shows municipalities that alarm dealers are serious about reducing invalid alarms. By adopting proven best practices, the industry enhances the service we provide to a community and supports law enforcement efforts to reduce crime.
We have always encouraged and supported efforts by alarm companies to maintain an open dialogue with community leaders and proactively build relationships with municipal organizations. These efforts ensure that public safety policy continues to consider the crime deterrent effect of alarm systems and the services we provide.
ECV is a program that every alarm company can initiate today. SIAC has resources available to guide you through the process. You can expect a reduction in the call volume in your central station, significant reduction in calls for dispatch, and your customers will appreciate the proactive service embodied in ECV.
About the author: Stan Martin is the executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). SIAC is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization comprised of four major North American security associationsâ€”Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and NBFAAâ€”and represents one voice for the alarm industry on alarm management issues. For more information on ECV and implementing this procedure, please visit www.siacinc.org.
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