Colo. chiefs team to fight false alarms

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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

DENVER - Police chiefs and sheriffs in this area have formed a task force to investigate ways of reducing false alarms, which Denver police estimate cost the city nearly $1 million and more than 23,000 hours of lost time last year.

In late August, that task force presented its findings to members of the Denver Metropolitan Chiefs Association, which will make a decision on how to address this growing issue in the coming months. The goal is to standardize policies across a number of municipalities.

Among the area towns working with Denver are Montgomery, Westminster, Arvada and Longmont. Each town currently has its own policy in place, ranging from fines to verified response. The Metro Chiefs Association wants to eliminate confusion for not only police, but for alarm monitoring companies, whose customers are not concentrated in any one municipality, according to Detective John White, public information officer for the Denver Police Department.

Of the 33,359 alarms the department responded to in 2002, about 97 percent were false, according to the Denver Police Department. Those false alarms amounted to more than five percent of the department’s total calls.

At present, Denver employs permits and fines, which brought in more than $800,000 in 2002.

The Colorado Burglar & Fire Alarm Association has said it hopes the association will not opt for verified response, which it said would put untrained people in potentially dangerous situations to verify an alarm’s cause.