Fla. Police Chiefs Adopt Model Alarm Ordinance

Proving once again that law enforcement and the alarm industry can work as partners and not as adversaries, the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FCPA) passed a resolution earlier this month to adopt and promote a model alarm ordinance.

The effort to create the model alarm ordinance involved the FCPA, as well as alarm industry groups the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) and the Alarm Association of Florida (AAF). The ordinance was designed to aid chiefs around the state of Florida as they revise and develop their own jurisdiction-specific alarm ordinances.

The ordinance, which came from the FCPA Alarm Management Committee, seeks to reduce the number of false alarms that police resources are used for. It focuses on what the chiefs and what alarm industry professionals saw as workable solutions to the false alarm problem.

At its core are such ordinance elements as:

- The registration of all alarm systems within the jurisdiction;
- A fine structure that increases in severity for regular sources of false alarms;
- Creating a way to accept alarm cancellations after they have been inappropriately activated;
- Cessation of police response to those alarm users who do not pay fines for prior false alarms and for those who do not register their systems;
- An appeals process for users who are fined or whose police response has been cancel;
- Adoption and installation of new equipment designed to reduce false alarms;
- Adoption of the Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) protocol for alarm verification;
- And the establishment of alarm awareness classes within the community.

According to Chief Nolan McLeod, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the creation of the model ordinance was essential for "developing strong alarm management programs throughout the state."

SIAC's executive director Stan Martin called the adoption of the ordinance a sign of "progressive movement," and indicated that the FCPA Model Alarm Ordinance was the kind of ordinance document that could be applied to many other states and jurisdictions as they also wrestle with the challenges of managing police and emergency services response to false alarms.

"The simple fact that FPCA created an Alarm Management Committee is monumental," said Martin of the model alarm ordinance approval. "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."