L.A., alarm officials ready for trial

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Thursday, May 8, 2003

May 8, 2003

LOS ANGELES - A local judge was slated to hear arguments from the alarm industry and representatives of the City of Los Angeles in a court trial Thursday to debate the legal merits of a verified response policy developed by Los Angeles police.

Industry officials said they did not expect the trial last more than a day or two due to the legal issues that were to be debated in the courtroom. The issues include whether the city's charter was followed in the process of the approval of the policy, whether the ordinance is in conflict with California's Alarm Company Act and other, broader issues that are in dispute, according to Jerry Lenander, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association.

GLASAA filed a lawsuit in late March to stop the police department's plan to implement its verified response policy. Through a task force, the issue has been studied for the last few months and in mid-April, two committees of the City Council unanimously accepted a false alarm proposal that would give alarm owners here three false alarms before police would not respond. The19-member task force was formed to study alternatives to the police department’s policy of not responding to burglar alarms unless the alarm was verified.

Police officials said then that the department would examine the new proposed policy but that the conditions under which the original verified response policy was created still exist.

Many in the industry believe that a decision in the LA case could be precedent setting for other cities around the country considering this type of response.

"It's a great experience to really dissect the issue and find a basis on how to move forward with it, to go through the court and the political process with the city and the police commission," Lenander said.