Delaware joins the party

Fifth to pass statewide false-alarm policy
Thursday, November 1, 2007

DELAWARE--The state of Delaware passed a law in August, with a possible effective date of Jan. 1, 2008, that requires all alarm companies to implement a two-call verification policy and register alarm customers in an effort to reduce false-alarm dispatches. This law makes Delaware the fifth state to pass a statewide false alarm policy.
Delaware State Representative Pamela J. Thornburg (R-Dover West) was a sponsor of the legislation and said in a prepared statement that, "House Substitute 1 for House Bill 224 will require security businesses, alarm customers and law enforcement to work together in an effort to reduce the number of false alarms and will hold security-system users responsible for the operation and maintenance of their systems."
The new law had strong support throughout the state, said Joe Gallagher, president of the Delaware Alarm Association and vice president of marketing for Matrix Security Group. "Four years ago, a false alarm task force was set up and members included private business, legislators, police agencies, the alarm association, and the department of homeland security," he said. "We looked at all different models around the country and that was how this bill was solved."
The exact effective date of this new law is yet to be determined, according to Gallagher. "The state needs to hire a third party to administer the false-alarm policy and we anticipate that some time around the first of January the ordinance will be implemented," he said.
The new law requires that all alarm owners must register their systems. Under the law, the fee structure for registration and fines for false alarms is dependent upon the location of the alarm system and which police agency is responsible for responding.
Registering all of its alarm customers will be no small task for individual alarm companies. "We have to send out registration forms to all our customers, new and old, indicating what their two-call verification numbers are and then update that information into our call lists," Gallagher said. "It will be time consuming and involve additional administrative costs, but we think it's worth it."
After companies submit customer registration information to a third party administrator, the administrator is responsible for following up with false alarm violations. "The third party will be in charge of registering alarm users and tracking all false-alarm data that they receive from police agencies as well as issuing and collecting fines," said Gallagher.
"But we know that implementing two-call verification will have a dramatic effect on the number of false-alarm dispatches and will reduce anyone getting to a fine situation," he said.