Good Public Policy vs. Bad Politics

Former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle is currently running for Mayor of the city. For those of you who’ve followed the debate over Verified Response (VR – where break-ins must be verified before police will respond to the premises), Kunkle was chief when the Dallas City Council several years ago voted to implement VR for commercial facilities. Kunkle’s position was and is that VR was good public policy but bad politics.

As part of his campaign, he pledges not to pursue VR for many of the reasons he outlined as chief – that citizens want police response, and it would be bad politics. In other words, he recognizes that citizens want police to serve as first responders.

His position and public statements are significant. Having officers checking homes and businesses ensures they are out in the community and serving as a deterrent to crime activity. And isn’t public protection the primary goal of law enforcement?

One of the big points the electronic security industry makes over and over (and it’s worth restating here because not everyone has heard it or thought about it), is that alarm systems are a deterrent. They are not designed to capture criminals. Instead, potential burglars avoid homes and businesses that have security systems, or if they do choose to break-in, they are scared off much more quickly, and leave empty-handed or with far less than what they might have stolen if there was no alarm in place.

Several studies document this, including the Rutgers Study, which shows residential security systems deter crime. You can go to our Web page for further information at; for the Rutgers Study, click on the “Useful Links” at the top of the page, then go to AIREF.

Good politics means listening to citizens and pursuing a course that is in the best interests of your constituents. We believe it’s good politics and good public policy to have police serving as first responders to alarms because that’s what citizens want, and because in the long run it keeps our communities safer.


Executive Director of SIAC
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