Detroit Police Department Teams Up with Security Industry to Reduce Calls for False Alarms

On Dec. 1, the Detroit Police Department implemented a new initiative called Enhanced Call Verification (ECV). The ECV Initiative will significantly reduce false alarm calls for service, which will enable the police department to improve response time to crimes and other emergencies.

“The ECV Initiative will provide more police visibility, while still protecting schools, churches, businesses and residents,” said Chief of Police Ralph Godbee. The ECV Initiative is one of several proven methods used to reduce false alarms, and the department will continue to explore other best practices, such as an alarm ordinance, to further reduce false alarm calls for service.

CDV has been implemented successfully by police departments and alarm companies in several other major metropolitan cities. For example, after implementation of ECV, the Los Angeles Police Department saw a reduction of alarm dispatches by approximately 25 percent. The department worked with the support of Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association members and revised an alarm ordinance.

The initiative has the full support of Mayor Dave Bing and the Chief of Police Godbee. The initiative also has support from local and national entities, the Burglar & Fire Alarm Association of Michigan (BFAAM), and nationally, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). SIAC is a nonprofit organization that provides no-cost assistance to communities and police agencies throughout the United States to address issues related to alarm management.

“In an effort to provide more effective police services, Chief Godbee, Deputy Mayor Saul Green, and I have emphasized the importance of enhancing our current technologies to better service the citizens of Detroit,” Bing said. “This program is a big step towards the elimination of wasteful police services by responding to false alarm calls, and increased overall efficiency. This ECV Initiative is a win-win for businesses, our police, the alarm industry and most importantly the citizens.”

The ECV Initiative is as simple as 1-2-3. Once the alarm is activated, the alarm monitoring company dispatchers will complete the following steps:

1. Call the first listed emergency contact number for the owner of the service;
2. If there is no answer at the first listed emergency contact number, call the secondary contact number;
3. Upon completion of the two (2) contact calls, one of the following actions will occur:

A. If alarm activation is deemed false after confirming with the owner, no police service will be provided.
B. If alarm activation is deemed a true burglary or there was no contact with the owner, alarm monitoring company dispatchers will engage the services of the 911 Emergency Communications System and request that police be sent to the alarm location.

The ECV Initiative has proven results and has the support of other police agencies and the alarm industry experts across the country as a best practice toward eliminating waste and improving police services.

“Statistically, 95 percent of all alarm calls for service are false,” Godbee said. “Eliminating these false alarm requests will allow police officers to respond to true emergency calls, which is an important factor in the overall strategy to make the city safer.”

ECV is the preferred policy of SIAC, and has recently been enacted in Spokane, WA, Boulder, CO, Lee County, FL, and more than 100 other cities. The Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police both support ECV.

ECV programs in other cities have resulted in dramatic decreases in the number of calls for police service because when contacted, many alarm owners say the system was accidentally set off and that police services are not required. It is important that alarm owners provide two current contact telephone numbers to their security companies or monitoring centers.

According to the BFAAM, 400 licensed alarm companies and 20 central station dispatch centers are prepared to implement the ECV Initiative. The Detroit Police Department's goal is to further engage the public with educational programs to reduce unnecessary dispatches. The department has made efficiency and best practices a top priority; therefore, the partnership with the BFAAM and SIAC is a natural fit. This collaboration between DPD, BFAAM, and SIAC will improve Detroit's quality of life by enhancing public safety.

“This is only the beginning of our efforts to work with the Detroit Police Department in finding ways of making alarm management more efficient while preserving the proven protection of alarm systems to lives and property,” stated Dean Belisle, President of the BFAAM. “We are happy to join with the Detroit Police Department to implement this and future programs that will be part of a continuous quality improvement effort to better serve the citizens of Detroit.”

“This is truly a community policing partnership with the Detroit Police Department, the Burglar & Fire Alarm Association of Michigan and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, to help meet the goals of providing enhanced public safety to the citizens of Detroit,” said Glen Mowrey, SIAC National Law Enforcement Liaison.

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