The City of Whittier, Calif., is preparing to adopt a new ordinance which will amend its Municipal Code pertaining to false alarms. The new ordinance is based on the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s (SIAC) Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) model.

According to SIAC, “[ECV] is an effective means to reduce calls for service from alarm activations while maintaining the crime deterrent effect of the alarm systems and their contribution to public safety in a community. An alarm owner will receive a second call following alarm activations… [which] reduces the costs to the alarm monitoring center since it is less expensive to process a second or third call than it is to request a police dispatch for [a false alarm].” 

The national model ordinance states, “The purpose of this ordinance is to establish reasonable expectations of alarm users and to ensure that alarm users are held responsible for their use of alarm systems.” It states that “no person shall use an alarm system without first obtaining a permit for such alarm system from the City or County.”

In turn, monitoring companies are responsible for attempting “to verify, by calling the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting dispatch. Telephone verification shall require, as a minimum that a second call be made to a different number, if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify themselves to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid, EXCEPT in the case of a panic or robbery-in-progress alarm, or in cases where a crime-in-progress has been verified by video and/or audible means.”

The City of Whittier now requires an alarm permit to operate a burglary or robbery alarm system. The alarm permit number will need to be available in the database and called in to the Whittier Police Department when requesting a police response for any alarm activation.

The alarm permit application can be assessed and downloaded online or at the front counter of the Whittier PD. The fee for the permit is a one-time payment of $50. Once the alarm permit has been completed, it must be submitted to the Whittier PD for review and processing.

Jeff A. Piper, chief of police, stated, “We are working with the California Alarm Association to achieve permit fulfillment as soon as possible [and] we will continue to work with your alarm association to communicate updates to our alarm program.”

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