The City of Fontana and the alarm industry, through the Inland Empire Alarm Association (IEAA), have reached an agreement to resolve their dispute over the City of Fontana’s 2008 alarm ordinance. The agreement ends on-going litigation and allows both sides to move forward cooperatively to serve and protect the residents and business of Fontana.
The 2008 ordinance provided that the Fontana Police Department would not respond to burglar alarm notification calls from alarm companies unless there was some audio, video, or eyewitness verification that an actual break-in was about to or had occurred. If alarm companies inappropriately notified police of an alarm call without such verification, a fine was imposed on the alarm company. Some of the key provisions of the 2008 ordinance were found to be unconstitutional by the San Bernardino Superior Court in March 2010, while the Court affirmed the validity of other portions. Both sides had appealed that ruling.
In the spirit of compromise, the parties mutually and amicably agreed to dismiss their appeals and instead agree on terms of a new alarm ordinance to replace the disputed 2008 ordinance. The new alarm ordinance maintains verified response to burglar alarms while eliminating the provisions of the 2008 ordinance that the alarm industry contended were unlawful. It envisions a continuing cooperative relationship between the Police Department and the alarm companies to adjust the verification requirement for burglar alarms as alarm technology improves so alarm companies can continue to serve their customers and police can continue to improve their level of service to the people of Fontana.
That’s a long way of getting to a big question: What does this settlement mean to the security industry?
One big positive for our industry is that companies doing business banded together to bring the lawsuit against Fontana.
Secondly, in the long run it is unlikely that we will see a large number of similar suits brought. However, with that said “should the industry take on legislative bodies that enact bad policy or law?”
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