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New L.A. Alarm Policy Spurs Controversy

February 07, 2003  | 

A new policy requires verification that a break-in is underway before police respond to burglar alarms. The alarm industry is upset, as are some citizens.

The Los Angeles City Council has dropped the threat to veto the new policy. This decision was made after Police Commission President Rick Caruso assured council members in writing that his panel would delay implementing the policy for 60 days and would consider recommendations made by a new task force.

Chief William J. Bratton and the commission said the Police Department needs to alter its approach to alarms because 92 percent last year were false.

Under the rule change, a break-in must be verified by the property owner or a security company representative before police will respond to an alarm. a verified alarm will be given high priority, meaning officers will arrive in 10 minutes or less. Because of the large number of false alarms, they are not a priority, and officers often take 45 minutes or more to respond.

The alarm industry is not ruling out going to court to block the policy change but plans to give the task force a change to work, said industry lobbyist Howard Sunkin.

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