False alarm issues are high on the list of priorities for Robert Serrano, a 10th-district Los Angeles City Council candidate running in a special election Nov. 10. Under Los Angeles’ revised alarm ordinance, a first false alarm for permitted alarm users results in a $115 fine and escalates in $50 increments for subsequent false alarms.

“The false alarm ordinance would have to be revised – throw the whole thing out,” Serrano suggested. He recommended voice or video verification of alarms as a way to reduce false alarms.

“With the Internet now, you should be able to transfer images to the 911 center,” he maintained. “If there’s an alarm, they can decide whether it’s a false alarm or not. I’d like to create a steering committee where we can make it easier and alarms could be verified.” He also suggested having central station operators verify alarms through voice or video and having police procedures for identifying false alarms on-site improved. He complained that police sometimes misidentify events as false alarms.

Serrano remembered one incident in which a jewelry store alarm at first was identified as false until his company’s personnel pointed out that they were receiving motion detection alarms from inside the store. Police returned and found an intoxicated man wandering in the store.

“I know it’s hard for the police because they’re running an alarm call and at the same time they have 10 other calls, so they have to do it really quick,” he sympathized. One of his suggestions is to reorganize the police department by city council district and have chiefs elected for each district.

Serrano is a 20-year veteran of the security industry who started his own company, API Security Service Inc. He named it after the company that he started, which was purchased by ADT Security Services. He worked a total of 19 years for ADT companies and then retired. Serrano has been an installer and service technician, and worked in sales and management in the security industry.

“Most of the problems in the industry are people putting in alarm systems who really don’t know how they work,” Serrano maintained. “Since I’ve started my own company, I’ve seen people doing business without a contractor’s license. It’s getting worse -- there’s nobody stopping these guys. That’s what’s hurting the industry. A lot of people are doing work that shouldn’t be doing it. They don’t know the codes – a lot of different codes nobody is following.”

Serrano is one of three men running for the 10th district city council seat in a special election Nov. 10. The front-runner is a former state assemblyman and speaker of the house who has been endorsed by Democrats and unions. His other opponent is a professional photographer.

Nevertheless, Serrano is working to raise funds to position himself as an alternative in a race that originally was uncontested. “I’ve been calling some people and still running my company,” he explained. “I’m hoping I can bring new ideas into the police department commission.

“If Los Angeles starts changing their laws, everybody else has to be doing the same thing,” Serrano pointed out. “That’s why I think it’s important that the industry backs me up and gets somebody who has been in the industry throughout the years and who can help.”