Delaware false alarm bill gets shelved

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Monday, July 1, 2002

DOVER, Del.-The fate of a bill that would have imposed a state-wide verified response policy and ordered false alarm fines for security companies won't be decided this year, according to state alarm officials in Delaware.

The legislation, H.B. 411, has been taken off the table and won't be voted on this legislative session, said Joe Gallagher, secretary of the Delaware Alarm Association. Instead, members of the Delaware association have been asked to join a task force to study the issue of false alarms in the state.

However, there is nothing to prevent the bill or similar legislation from being introduced in the future, cautioned Gallagher and David Johnson, governmental relations director for the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association. The formation of the task force is a "good sign" that the legislature and police will be responsive to hearing arguments from the state alarm industry, Johnson said.

The Delaware association was also successful in getting a competing bill introduced, H.B. 543, which called for the state to pass a guideline bill similar to the NBFAA's model false alarm ordinance, with enforcement and fee schedules handled on the local level, Gallagher said.

Although H.B. 411 is not unique, it is the first time such legislation has been proposed on a state-wide level. Alarm industry officials feared that an adoption in Delaware could have led to other states adopting a similar law, which would have imposed a $150 fine directly to the security companies for false alarms.

The False Alarm Security Task Force, which will be comprised of police, legislators, members of government and the public, will report back to the General Assembly in January of 2003.