Verified Alarm Response Policy
The city does not register home security alarms.
Verification means that separate, independent information has been obtained from the location of the alarm that a crime has occurred at that location. This will generally come from an individual at the scene such as a security officer response, a call from a neighbor who can see the location, or a call to person inside the location.
Police respond to priority alarms without verification. Priority alarms include:
- Holdup, panic, domestic violence and duress alarms. A duress alarm is an alarm intentionally activated by a person to indicate that s/he is under duress. This may include use of a specific code number or word to indicate duress, but will not be inferred from the use of an incorrect number or word, or any other act or omission.
- Alarms at law enforcement or correctional offices or facilities.
- Intrusion alarms for businesses which sell firearms or for facilities which store quantities of firearms.
- Alarms at facilities which, based on reliable information, we consider to currently be potential terrorist targets.
- Intrusion alarms where Dispatch determines that there is additional information which causes them to believe that a crime is still in progress, or that a suspect is still present at the location.
For all other types of alarms reported by an alarm central station, we will not respond without verification that the alarm is valid. The information we have after receiving the verification, will dictate the priority of the call and our response.
If a response person is required to allow officers safe access to the building, officers will wait a reasonable length of time, normally 20 minutes or less, for a response person to arrive. If no response person arrives, officers may clear and request to be called back when the response person arrives unless it is evident that one or more
suspect(s) is/are present.
After officers have concluded their business at the location, they may clear. Responsibility for security of the building will rest with the response person, or if none, with the alarm company.
An exception to the response criteria can be made in cases where; the situation involves an on-going pattern of crimes or danger to an individual, and response to a particular alarm, or group of alarms without prior verification, will be likely to assist officers in protecting persons and/or apprehending suspects.
These types of exceptions must normally be approved by an EPD division manager or designee. The on-duty watch commander may, in emergent situations, make an exception only for the duration of his or her watch, after which division manager approval must be obtained. The person authorizing the exception will be responsible to ensure that Communications and the appropriate alarm central station are notified.
For exceptions of a duration of longer than one shift, the person authorizing the exception will have a memo prepared specifying the exception, the reason for the exception and the duration of the exception. That memo will be forwarded electronically to the Communications Center, Watch Commander Office and any affected investigations sections, and a copy placed with the patrol briefing information.