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Steve Keefer

SIAC follows up with Carson City

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

About two months ago, Security Systems News spoke with Steve Keefer, national law enforcement liaison for SIAC, about the unique way the Carson City Sheriff’s Department approaches false alarms; by utilizing volunteers. Since, Keefer followed up with this sheriff’s office and found that while false alarms have dropped, it is difficult to determine how the volunteers were involved.

Upon looking at the figures over all reductions, “I told the sheriff, ‘I bet you’re close to a fifty percent reduction in your commercial [false alarms],” Keefer told SSN. Yet, because of how the data was organized, the exact influence of this volunteer program can’t currently be determined, Keefer said.

Keefer gave the sheriff recommendations, such as hand-outs, like flyers and printed statistics, as well as a heavier focus on false panic and hold-up alarms. “Those are probably more problematic for a police department, because you’re not getting, traditionally, two officers going to a robbery or hold-up—you’re probably getting three or four.”

A primary reason for Keefer’s follow-up was to investigate the viability this practice might hold for other jurisdictions, perhaps to be incorporated into SIAC’s recommended practices.

A positive aspect of this program is the small commitment for volunteers, Keefer said; they could finish a month’s duties in four hours, across two days. “It’s not draining by any means.”

According to Keefer, the city of 55,000 people saw about 1,300 false alarms last year. These false alarms are split about 70 percent commercial and 30 percent residential. While these volunteers exclusively visit commercial offenders, Keefer underlined that this method could benefit the residential sector as well.

The volunteers, a husband-and-wife pair, only visit businesses that have received two or more false alarms in a given month, totaling about 10 to 15 per month.

Volunteers fighting false alarms in Nevada

Carson City pioneering new approach
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12/09/2014

CARSON CITY, Nev.—The sheriff’s office here is using volunteers to reduce false alarm dispatches, an approach new to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, SIAC says.

Volunteers fight false alarms in Carson City, Nev.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Steve Keefer, western U.S. law enforcement liaison for SIAC, noticed that Carson City, Nevada, is trying something different in the attempt to reduce false alarms—utilizing volunteers through the sheriff’s office. This is an approach that is very new to SIAC, Keefer said.

These volunteers are “regular citizens that just want to help out in the community,” Keefer told Security Systems News.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office started this approach at least five years ago, but SIAC hadn’t heard about it until recently, according to Keefer. 

The sheriff’s office has two volunteers that speak with false alarms offenders and discuss ways of reducing the problem. Apparently, these efforts, more often than not, are met with full cooperation.

Keefer said that these volunteers in Carson City, Nev., are currently speaking with commercial alarm users, but Keefer believes this process could have a residential application as well.

SIAC is an organization that is always focused on reducing the numbers of false alarms and the strain that puts on local authorities. As such they’ve been keeping an eye on people that approach this matter from different angles.

"What was unique about Carson City's Sheriff Office- they don't even have an ordinance," he said. Keefer mentioned that this could be a model that SIAC would recommend to other sheriff's offices if SIAC sees this lead to positive results in Carson City. 

This certainly seems to be a different way of going about the matter, as opposed to reforming ordinances or imposing fines for false alarms. This shows that the matter is not just one sided, that both citizens and authorities care about reducing false alarms.

California leads the way for SIAC

Organization forging new law enforcement partnerships in 2015
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11/17/2014

CHULA VISTA, Calif.—California is leading the way in adopting false alarm ordinances, according to Jon Sargent, the industry/law enforcement liaison for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition.