Most aggressive false-alarm ordinance ever in the U.S.?

Fontana City Council votes in strict verified respond law
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

FONTANA, Calif.--What is being deemed the most aggressive verified response ordinance in the United States unanimously passed the Fontana City Council Sept. 9. The ordinance mandates that police not respond to alarms without audio, video or eyewitness verification of a break-in. The ordinance also specifies that forced entry must have occurred.
The most aggressive element of Fontana’s ordinance is its fine structure. “If police respond to an alarm condition that does not have signs of forcible entry, a $200 fine will be issued to a dealer even in the case of a burglary,” said Morgan Hertel, president of The Command Center, a central station that does business in Fontana. “Also, if a dealer calls in an alarm, whether it’s valid or not, and it has not been verified either by audio, video or eyewitness, it’s a $150 fine for a prohibited call, even if it ends up being a legitimate break-in,” he said.

Ordinance 1580, which amends Article IV of the Fontana Municipal Code - Burglar Alarms, and its strict fine structure will become effective on Oct. 9, 30 days after the City Council adopted the measure.

Fontana, which touts itself as the “a city of action” voted to enact this new ordinance following a May 8 court decision that ruled the city’s previous no-response policy unlawfully contradicted its then ordinance body (see “Court rules city must respond to alarms” at By changing the ordinance, the city is now able to re-establish its no-response policy.

Hertel said he did not expect the Inland Empire Alarm Association, which brought legal action against the city for its no-response policy, to take any legal action in this situation. “The next step is to notify customers and let them know about this new policy and if they want to take up arms, they know where City Hall is, too,” he said.