After All the Debate, Fontana Now on Verified Response

Active lawsuit could still derail city's ordinance, but for now, verified response in place


Fontana, Calif., made major industry news when it voted to turn to a verified response policy earlier this summer.

The decision, which was contested by the alarm industry, requires alarm activations to be verified before police dispatch response to those facilities or homes. The city allows such verification methods as audio recording, video surveillance, on-site verification from a security officer or verification from an eyewitness, employee or perhaps the homeowner.

And while the policy of using verification was set to start today in Fontana, there's still the possibility that a lawsuit from the Inland Empire Alarm Association – an association of alarm installing and servicing firms – might just derail Fontana's verified response policy. The lawsuit, which alleges the verified response policy doesn't align with city rules, was filed against the Fontana Police Department and is expected to be decided upon by a judge in the next few weeks.

Although Fontana had in place a fine-based system for deterring false alarms, the fines weren't particularly prohibitive. Under the previous system, the alarm system owner was fined $63 on the fourth false alarm call in a year (the first three were considered freebies). Many cities use deterrent policies that start fining alarm system owners after their first or second false alarm, and many of the newer policies have fine rates that increase significantly based on the number of false alarms from a given household or business.