NEWS

Alarm Industry Pushes 911 Call Centers to Give Priority to Video Alarms

By Matthew Harwood

But the priority response movement gained its biggest success when Boston formally adopted the policy change in February. The city created two new alarm categories--video alarm commercial and video alarm residential--for its 911 call centers. These alarms also receive immediate attention. In the past, Boston categorized blind alarms as a priority 3; now visual alarms are a priority 1.

According to Jentoft, Los Angeles County will also implement the policy change and alarm companies should be sending video clips by May. The Texas cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have also shown interest in making the policy change.

Another benefit of the priority response program has been a warming of relations between law enforcement and the alarm industry, according to Crum and Jentoft.

“Where in the past, the false alarm reduction issue has been a source of animosity between law enforcement and the security industry,” Jentoft said. “With this concept we can actually reach across the aisle and say ‘We can help you. We can make more arrests with you.’”

Crum said law enforcement needs such partnerships to do their job, especially as budgets get cut and cops get laid off.

“This is the perfect bridge: that alarm company being part of that community, making a positive impact,” Crum said. “I think everyone comes out smelling like a rose.”

 

♦ Photo by twicepix/Flickr

 

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