We would like to respond to the article published in the Winnipeg Sun dated February 10, 2004 concerning the Winnipeg Police Department’s decision to respond to security alarms only after alarm providers have verified – or tried to confirm – criminal activity.

There has been a misunderstanding of the message that our Manitoba President, Brent Pokrant, expressed in the article. The Canadian Alarm and Security Association (CANASA), a national organization representing the electronic security industry, would like to officially state that the only form of verified response that we support is Enhanced Telephone Verification (ETV), or otherwise known as Two-call Verification. ETV is a process where by the monitoring station attempts to contact two representatives (key holders) at the premises before requesting a dispatch from the police department.

As an active member of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), we endorse and promote a model by-law to Police Departments that is proven to be in the best interest of the public safety.

All police departments are feeling the ripple affects of cutbacks in government funding, and they are being asked to do more with fewer resources. Verified-response is a drastic step with a false promise of easing the workload of police agencies.

The article related specifically to the Winnipeg Police and their announcement to change their alarm response policy to verified response. The monitoring stations already filter out more than 80% of the false dispatches by verification techniques such as contacting the homeowner prior to dispatch, and they are further reducing these calls with Enhanced Telephone Verification (ETV).

The article was based on the myth that verified response, non-response, will allow police to be reassigned to respond to serious crimes and prevent crimes. Just last year the City of Los Angeles dispelled many of the myths surrounding verified response, and the police rejected verified response as an alarm response policy.

CANASA had extended an invitation to the Winnipeg Police to help to develop an alternative to a verified response policy. CANASA has the process to help implement and maintain these measures and we are willing to work with all those concerned to establish an agreeable solution that benefits police, the community and the security industry.