Enforcement Makes an Ordinance Work


There are many provisions in successful alarm ordinances. But one that stands out repeatedly is this: Any ordinance that achieves serious reductions in unwanted alarms is effectively enforced by the local jurisdiction. Enforce the ordinance and it works. Don’t, and you’ll continue to have nuisance alarms over and over.

The IACP-PSLC (International Association of Chiefs of Police-Private Sector Liaison Committee) recognized this. Earlier in the year, they came up with recommendations, and stated that when best practices from the model ordnance are “combined into an alarm ordinance that is strictly enforced and there are no exceptions for schools, government buildings, churches or banks, you can expect alarm dispatch reductions of 50% to 70%.”

The emphasis on “strictly enforced” is theirs, but SIAC couldn’t agree more. Far too often laws are put on the books that aren’t enforced. What happens then? Nothing. And that’s a problem. Unenforced laws don’t have consequences. There is no change in behavior.

Not following through reminds us of the parenting lesson where little Joey keeps winging peas with his fork into his sister Mary’s eye at the dinner table. The father says “stop doing that.” Joey flings them again. The father says, “Stop doing that, Joey or else.” This goes on unless the father or mother act by disciplining little Joey for his behavior.

The point is a simple one: Follow through. Little Joey will stop when he is fairly disciplined and understands the consequences of his actions. Similarly, when local jurisdictions take the time to enforce their alarm ordinances, positive results will follow. Agencies may even see alarm dispatch reductions of 90% over a several year period if the number of free responses are reduced to one or zero.

These best practices are combined and available in the Law Enforcement Model Ordinance on SIAC’s Web site: http://www.siacinc.org. Check it out. We can help you figure out the best provisions that work for your community. Enforcement though is up to the local agency. Don’t neglect it.

About justwrite15

Dave's column has run in multiple small town newspapers across the U.S., in Nebraska, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas,where Dave has been able to entice personal friends and editors to run his social commentary. His column has also been picked up by www.coastalmonroe.com. It has appeared in newspapers since 1998, and began in response to one of the school shootings so depressingly familiar in America. His commentary has morphed into a weekly offering of humor, insights and advice on how to find sanity in an insane world.
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