New California bill protects alarm companies from false alarm fines

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.—California Gov. Jerry Brown on July 31 signed AB 1616 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian into law, bringing false alarm fines to the alarm permit holders, not alarm companies, unless the alarm company is responsible.

“This bill would prohibit an alarm company operator or an alarm agent from being liable for civil penalties and fines assessed by a city, county, or city and county for false alarms not attributed to alarm company operator error, improper installation of the alarm system by an alarm agent or an alarm company operator, defective equipment provided or installed by an alarm agent or an alarm company operator, or defective equipment leased by an alarm company operator,” according to language in the bill.

The bill, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018, was sponsored by ADT Security Services and supported by the California Alarm Association, based here.

“From my perspective, this is a great example of smart legislation that will ultimately help the … jurisdictions responsible for responding save resources and still fight the false alarm problem,” Chuck Petrusha, president of the California Alarm Association, told Security Systems News. “As the CAA, we strongly supported [the bill] all the way through.”

Petrusha identified false alarms as a high priority when he took on the role last year, he said. “One of the challenges we’ve had in California—and across the United States—is rogue ordinances,” he said.

Petrusha said that California is looking at a couple of tactics to help reduce false alarms, such as an agreed upon method for measuring false alarms across all of the state’s alarm companies and a list of best practices.

Petrusha is also focusing on two-call verification, which CAA wants “to be standard practice even in municipalities that don’t require it. We want it to be what we do as an industry to stop false alarms. It’s been verified and tested over the last few years to be a very productive tool in stopping false alarms.”

CAA partners with SIAC to work with local municipalities on their alarm ordinances, Petrusha noted. 

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