Cooperation spells success in Sacramento

SIAC teams with California Alarm Association, law enforcement to strengthen city’s alarm ordinance
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FRISCO, Texas—Add Sacramento to the list of SIAC success stories.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition, working with the California Alarm Association and Sacramento’s police department, announced last week that SIAC’s best practices have been incorporated into the city’s revised alarm ordinance. The guidelines include annual permit fees and enhanced call verification to reduce false dispatches and maintain police response.

Rich Whitlock, Northern CAA vice president, said the revised ordinance was more than two years in the making and reflected close cooperation between the industry and law enforcement.

“The Sacramento attorney’s office had it in their possession for quite a while and they were trying to make some changes,” Whitlock told Security Systems News. “Prior to when SIAC got involved, they were trying to fine alarm companies, and they were trying to make it so that we had to have a separate permit—almost like a business license for alarm companies—for the end user to have an alarm system.”

Industry representatives met several times with the city attorney to try to convince Sacramento to adopt SIAC’s model alarm ordinance, a blueprint that the CAA also advocates. The effort paid off on June 19 when the City Council approved the revised guidelines.

Whitlock said one of the keys to success was the diligence of Sacramento police Capt. James Maccoun, who presented the plan to city councilors with the full backing of SIAC, based here, and the CAA.

“He did a great job representing the new ordinance and was a pleasure to work with,” Whitlock said. “I think he should get a lot of the credit for this.”

In a letter to the CAA, Maccoun emphasized the value of working with the security industry and said the cooperation would benefit the city and alarm users.

“Through the effective use of proven prevention strategies such as monitored alarm systems and continued partnership with the security industry, the Sacramento Police Department believes we can protect our community and your customers, and still preserve police response times to priority calls for service,” he wrote.

The revised ordinance takes effect Oct. 1. Alarm users will be assessed a $50 fine for the second false burglar alarm in a year, with the first false alarm waived. Fines rise to $70 for the third incident, $90 for incidents four through eight, and $110 for subsequent incidents. Alarm users currently have the first three false alarms waived, with a $50 fine assessed for incidents four through eight and a $100 fine levied for the ninth and subsequent incidents.

The new guidelines also call for a $20 annual permit, replacing a $40 permit every three years. The cost of the permit will rise to $25 in FY 2013/14 and $30 in FY 2014/15. A fee scale will be implemented for alarm users who fail to obtain a permit.