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Neighborhood Watch

Akron Police Department’s alarm policy change pushed back

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Police Department (APD) has delayed the planned implementation of its verified response alarm policy from the originally scheduled March 1 to April 1.

“The citizens were saying, ‘We’d like some more time to be a more educated consumer,’” said Akron Police Department (APD) Capt. Paul Calvaruso, the point person on the policy change. “We thought, let’s give the citizens more time.”

According to APD officials, 98 percent of the alarms police officers respond to are false alarms, costing the expenditure of funds and also the diverting of officers’ response from actual crimes being committed. Under the new policy, officers will change how they respond to intrusion alarms, which must be verified before officers will respond. Officers will continue to respond to panic, duress and hold-up alarms.

An alarm can be verified by a licensed security agency representative, an eyewitness, live video, live reliable audio or a perimeter alarm breech in conjunction with an internal motion detector breech.

The pending policy change has received considerable resistance, both in the community and from the alarm industry, since it was announced late last year.

In a Feb. 13 press release, the Electronic Security Association of Ohio asserted that the policy change violates the city’s alarm ordinance and is unconstitutional.

“Ordinances can be interpreted differently,” Calvaruso said. “We don’t feel it violates our ordinance. If it gets to the point where we feel it does, we’ll modify the ordinance as needed.”

Calvaruso said it’s unfortunate that in the time leading up to the implementation of the new policy, some members of the alarm industry have chosen “to continue to do battle and spread false information” instead of working together with the city.

Calvaruso said the city’s alarm ordinance — which is Article 111, Chapter 23 of the Municipal Code and, among other implementations, lays out a schedule of penalties for false alarms — was actually established to protect the police and fire departments from false alarms.

For more information on the verified response alarm policy, including a list of cities that have implemented successful policies, according to Calvaruso, visit the APD’s website for a list of frequently asked questions. The website can be accessed from www.akronohio.gov by clicking on “Residents,” then “City Departments,” then “Public Safety” then “Police Department.”

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