Two members of the Olympia (Wash.) Police Department received a national award February 20, 2007, for helping to improve alarm management practices in their city. The "Award of Distinction for Excellence in Alarm Management" is given by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) in recognition of innovative and successful practices that reduce the number of burglar alarm signals generating calls for police dispatch.
Dick Machlan and Laura Wohl of the Olympia Police Department (OPD) were recognized, along with Chief Gary Michel and Commander Steve Nelson.
"These officials helped craft an ordinance that has reduced unnecessary police dispatches to alarms by over 70 percent - not just for a month of two, but for the entire 20 months of its existence," said Ron Haner, Alarm Center, Inc., who presented the award for SIAC.
"Dick, who manages the Administrative Services Division of the OPD, arranged and moderated several meetings of stakeholders that included citizens, representatives from local businesses, the Olympia School District, state government and the alarm industry. He chose the elements, procedures and requirements from the available advice and crafted an ordinance that has had the most consistent results in the nation, an ordinance that became a model for many other jurisdictions from Spokane, Washington to New Jersey," Haner told members of the city council.
"Crafting an ordinance of this magnitude and getting it passed by the city council is obviously a huge accomplishment, but the success or failure of an ordinance often hinges on its implementation. And for that, Dick had the able assistance of Laura Wohl," Haner added.
The successful Olympia ordinance incorporates SIAC's "Best Practices" for reduction of unnecessary police dispatches to alarms. Those practices include annual registration, Enhanced Call Verification (two calls to the alarm customer, if needed, to confirm if a break-in has occurred), adoption of the industry control panel (CP-01) standard for all new installations, a fee for each response to an alarm and suspension of service for alarm sites that have more than four false alarms in a year.