Fees and fines HOLD up L.A. ordinance

Thursday, April 1, 2004

LOS ANGELES - The long process to craft a false-alarm ordinance that would be agreeable to both law enforcement and the alarm industry in Los Angeles is far from over, according to Jerry Lenander, executive director of the California Alarm Association.

In the first month of the new policy, the Los Angeles Police Department reported a 20 percent decrease in total alarm responses, according to Jerry Lenander.

However, he added, at press time, the fine structure had still not been worked out and an actual ordinance had yet to be crafted by the City Council.

“We’re waiting for an ordinance to be written,” Lenander said. “The first thing we saw from them recommended some fees that were really out of line with what they should be and what the task force recommended.”

In the meantime, Lenander said, the association is keeping an eye on what’s going on and waiting patiently for a resolution.

“We’re just standing by and doing what we’re told until they figure it out,” he said.

The new dispatch policy, which took effect on Jan. 1, allows two false alarms per 12-month period. After that, alarms are treated as “broadcast and file.” Under this policy, 911 operators will announce the alarm call over the radio and if an officer is not responding to another call and is in the immediate vicinity, he or she has the option to respond. The operator then files the call after the original broadcast. The only exception would be if the alarm can be verified from the premises.

Lenander said the confusion over the language of the policy has contributed to the length of the process.

“It’s complicated because of the different terms,” he said.

In the end, Lenander said, it will be up to those who own alarm systems to ensure that the ordinance works for them, since their tax dollar funds the city’s police force.

“It’s really up to the citizens to get in front of it,” he said.