Law enforcement association defines verified alarms

Steve Walker: ‘a big step’ for PPVAR
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

GALVESTON, Texas—Steve Walker, president of the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response, called the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s definition of the term “verified alarm” a big step for future conversations on alarm verification.

“This is the first state that has taken the step forward to try to get really clear on what a verified alarm is,” Walker said.

A verified alarm, by this definition, is one in which a trained central station operator “confirms the presence of humans [at a specific site], and [has] information that shows that there is a probable crime in progress,” said Chris Vinson, chairman of the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s alarm committee. It is a “best practice” definition, he said; each law enforcement agency in the state individually decides whether to adopt it.

Walker said the term “enhanced call verification” is confusing. ECV was seen as verifying false alarms, whereas verified alarms confirm probable crimes. Verification can occur through various sensors, audio or video.

PPVAR changed its name in March from the Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. The change moves the organization away from one technology and directs it toward the total concept of verification, Walker said.

The resolution passed by the association at its annual meeting in early April had two sections; the first defined verified alarm, and the second stated law enforcement agencies’ ability to raise the priority of verified alarms.

“We’re trying to encourage law enforcement agencies to give higher priority responses [to verified alarms]; up to … what they would do for a witnessed, in-progress offense,” Vinson said.

A two-hour training session on verified alarms, priority response and the automated secure alarm protocol (ASAP) took place at the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s annual meeting, Vinson said.