Seattle police push for false alarm compliance

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

SEATTLE--The Seattle Police, in an Oct. 22 letter to alarm companies, announced that on January 1, 2009, it would begin enforcing alarm company requirements from the Seattle Municipal Code.

Detective Christopher Hall, false alarm administrator at the SPD, said that the letter, sent to more than 300 alarm companies, was not about cracking down. “In 2004, they rewrote the law that basically started billing the alarm companies instead of the consumer, and it included all these provisions, and now we're finally getting around to enforcing them," Hall said.

First among the requirements is that Seattle monitoring companies be licensed with the city. Licensed companies will be issued a unique identifying number, or UIN, which the company will need to provide when calling in an alarm. Failure to provide a UIN will result in non-response. Washington Burglar and Fire Alarm Association Western Chapter vice chairman Shannon Woodman, vice president of sales at Washington Alarm, said Washington Alarm has been ready for the compliance date.

“We've had our UIN for a while," she said. “It just never gets asked for."

Alarm companies also need to utilize enhanced call verification every time they call in a burglary/motion/intrusion alarm. The SPD will institute a policy of not dispatching officers to alarm calls when the alarm company has not used ECV. Alarm companies will be instructed to call back when they have made two call-verification attempts and must be able to provide the numbers called.

Hall stressed that alarm companies should not be surprised by any of the requirements of the Seattle Municipal Code: “We're not trying to knock anyone out, put anyone out of business ... We want to get everyone playing on an even playing field and everyone following the same rules."