There are many ways for a community to address unnecessary calls for police dispatch from triggered alarms. That’s a large reason why SIAC is in business. We help with solutions.
Sometimes we propose those solutions early, before opinions are hardened. In other cities we might testify, if requested to do so, once the process has begun. Sometimes we are asked to help after a battle has already ensued, and parties are stuck in their positions.
Sometimes though, our involvement isn’t necessary because a city has already taken important steps to address the issue of reducing a growing number of calls. Bakersfield, California is a case in point. Recently, they proposed to take a number of steps to dramatically cut back alarm calls for dispatch. Central to their effort is a system of fines beginning on the second false dispatch.
The city has been looking at this issue for over a year, and examined different approaches. This speaks well for the city, its officials and the citizens. Equally important, they’ve chosen to be open in this public policy process. By doing so, they’ve decided to embrace a Democratic approach to airing concerns — hearing multiple sides of an issue before coming to a decision. This is good for all parties.
This can take longer than a unilateral approach, but in the long run, hearing all sides makes for a stronger, and longer lasting solution. We applaud Bakersfield for the steps they’ve taken and hope other communities take note to openly explore best practices with their citizens.