Fla. first to pass ECV

SSN Staff  - 
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--On July 1, Florida became the first state in the United States to implement an enhanced call verification law, HB 1351, requiring central stations to call a second phone number for residential and commercial accounts before contacting police, in an effort to curb the number of false dispatches.
The decision to turn ECV into a state law stemmed from its introduction to alarm industry members three years ago. A group comprising law enforcement agencies and the Alarm Association of Florida chapters, made up of more than 800 company members, examined national studies and an industry-wide decision was made to make the service mandatory. The policy would potentially free time for police officers to respond to other calls, so the Florida Police Chief's Association and Florida Sheriff's Association supported the legislation.
The law had a three-year stint in the State Assembly. It was passed in the House and Senate two years in a row, but conflicts between House and Senate leaders over wording kept killing the bill, said Bob Worthy, acting treasurer and legislative committee chairman for the Florida Alarm Association.
Although many dealers and central stations offered this service prior to the legislation, the "law now takes the liability away from someone making that decision," Worthy said.
Looking back at the approved legislation, Roy Pollock, compliance manager for Devcon Security Systems Services, said, "We pushed for this to become a law because a lot of the central stations were reluctant to put it in, either because of the contractual language they had or the language did not specify it." Pollock said centrals "felt it was one of the best methods to reduce false alarms and false dispatches."
Devcon added ECV in April 2004 as part of the central station's service package. Since that time, the central documented the service and obtained a 35-to-45-percent reduction in its dispatch rate.
Worthy said, thanks to the law, industry members will look at Florida's approach as a model for tackling the false dispatch problem in their own states. "Working with public safety furthers our partnership to show that we are serious about getting this taken care of," he said.