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Police Department and Alarm Company Team Together for Success

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FRISCO, Texas (August 12, 2009) – Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “I know the price of success; dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”  Never has that been more true than in a recent development in Olympia, WA, when in an attempt to best protect the citizens of their city, while still adhering to their alarm ordinance, the police and a local alarm company teamed together to apprehend habitual criminals who had been repeatedly targeting the same business. 


As a local battery company was under attack from repeat burglars, Dick Machlan, Manager of the Administrative Services Division for the Olympia Police Department, teamed together with Custom Security Systems of Lacey, WA, to create a plan that would allow the business to increase security without fear of accumulating alarm fees while the sting operation was in effect.  


“BJ Swidecki, with Custom Security, first contacted me and indicated that one of his customers in Olympia had been having a number of burglaries and he wanted to do a couple of things to see if we could work together to catch these guys,” began Machlan.  “One of the things he wanted to do was install outside beams around the perimeter of the property.  Under normal circumstances, this type of alarm would be high risk in terms of unnecessary alarm trips, so he was contacting us to make sure it would be acceptable to do so.  Anytime one of our alarm companies has a particular approach to a problem for one of their customers, we encourage them to get in touch with us so that we might work together within the confines of our existing alarm program to keep everyone safe.”


The alarm program in Olympia was first instituted in 2005 and requires that alarm companies and their customers work together to ensure that the proper two-call verification procedure is followed, alarm equipment is in good working order, and that customers are trained on how to use their equipment correctly.  All alarm systems must be registered with the city to receive a police response and all alarm users pay a fee for any unnecessary dispatches.  But that does not mean that the city is unwilling to work with their citizens who are dedicated to adhering to the alarm program mandates.     


Machlan continued, “Normally what we do is charge for every unnecessary alarm dispatch that we go to, but we are willing to take a proactive and cooperative approach in certain situations and waive that fee.   In the case of the Custom Security customer we knew the perimeter alarms were likely to cause more alarm trips so we agreed on a 3-month time period for suspension of alarm fees to unnecessary dispatches so that we could catch the criminals.” 


Approximately one month after the agreement between Custom Security and the Olympia Police Department, and after the additional alarm equipment had been installed, there was a trip on those alarms.  When the police arrived they noticed that someone had cut through the fence surrounding the property and when exiting the premises had left a stack of batteries on the ground presumably to retrieve at a later time.   The police then decided to set up a perimeter and wait and see if the thieves came back for the batteries.  The criminals did return and were quickly arrested without further incident. 


“It was a really good cooperative effort,” concluded Machlan.  “One of the things that we like to do is identify the types of situations where we can work together with an alarm company to catch the bad guys.  When we first looked at our alarm program, the intent we had was to simply recover our cost of responding to unnecessary alarms, but we’ve found that we have been able to cut down on false alarms by close to 80%.  I really think it’s been our ability to cooperate together with the alarm industry that makes our system work.  We don’t always have things work out the way this particular situation did, but it sure is a great success story.”


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