Controversial non-response policy in L.A. delayed

Thursday, January 16, 2003

January 16, 2003

LOS ANGELES - After hearing protests from alarm industry representatives, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-1 on Jan. 14 to delay the implementation of a controversial non-response policy approved by the Los Angeles police commission.

Under the proposed policy, police would respond to a burglar alarm only if an eyewitness or video had verified the alarm.

The policy would not apply to human-activated panic alarms and burglar alarms at the city’s gun shops. Those alarms would still elicit a police response.

The vote means that the city council now has 21 days to hold hearings and either reject the new policy, which would require a two-thirds vote of the council, or let it stand.

The alarm industry had lobbied extensively against the new policy, and industry officials said they believed their efforts played a large role in the city council’s vote.

"It’s probably the best example of the industry coming together and really working the problem," said Steve Doyle, executive director of the Central Station Alarm Association.

Les Gold, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing the industry, said in his opinion, the police commission did not have the authority to establish this policy.

“In our opinion, what they’ve done is not constitutional because effectively they’re amending the city ordinance which can only be done by the city council,” said Gold.