Edmonton Police Service Procedures

The Edmonton Police Service acknowledges and appreciates the efforts that the alarm industry makes towards making Edmonton the safest city in Canada. The Edmonton Police Service sees the value that alarm systems can have on crime reduction and ensuring citizens feel safe. It is also recognized that an open line of communication between the Edmonton Police Service and each alarm company is of utmost importance to ensure that positive relationships are maintained, as it requires a combined effort to ensure that reported alarms result in occurrences legitimately requiring police attendance.

While the Edmonton Police Service has experienced a 30% reduction in dispatched alarm calls, the false alarm rate remains between 94-100%. In order to further reduce the number of false alarms resulting in police attendance, the Edmonton Police Service Police Communications Branch Standard Operating Procedure (EPS SOP) has been modified to ensure police resources are being deployed as accurately and efficiently as possible to include the following conditions:

  1. Should the alarm company reach an individual on site who cannot provide the verbal passcode, the alarm shall not be dispatched, as this does not provide sufficient grounds to initiate emergency response due to the low likelihood of a criminal offence.
  2. Should an EPS evaluator reach a keyholder or employee on site who verifies the alarm as false, the alarm will be cancelled immediately.
  3. General burglar/intrusion alarms or numbered zones where the location of the zones cannot be identified by the alarm company will not be dispatched.
  4. Audio link alarms will not be dispatched unless accompanied by video verification or intrusion sensors. Enhanced Call Verification applies.
  5. Check In alarms will not be dispatched.
  6. Freezer alarms will not be dispatched.
  7. If keyholder information or other relevant alarm information is requested by the EPS and that information is not provided, dispatch may be denied.
  8. There will be no dispatch to keypad panic alarm activations unless there are unusual circumstances associated to the activation. Keypad panics will continue to be dispatched if the criminal activity is verified (video surveillance, call from a witness or keyholder on site)
  9. Panic alarms from an unidentified area will be assumed as a keypad panic alarm.
  10. EPS evaluators hold the discretion to dispatch/ not dispatch to any alarm.
  11. EPS will not provide event numbers, badge numbers, or ECO numbers to any alarm that will not qualify for dispatch.
  12. Communication failure alarms and roof hatch alarms are no longer an unusual circumstance. These alarms will now be considered a single hit. Premises with ammunition/firearms/explosives/hazardous materials will still be considered an unusual circumstance and will be dispatched accordingly.
  13. If the premises have designated third party security/guard service, that service must respond to the premise prior to police being dispatched.

It is important to note that these changes are internal procedural changes. At this time, the Edmonton Police Service is not requiring the alarm industry to report alarms in any different fashion. However, once an alarm is reported to EPS, it may be handled in a different manner. For example, keypad panics may still be reported when all verification has been completed, however internally it will be treated as a single hit and dealt with accordingly. Moving forward, the EPS may choose to handle the report differently to maximize efficiency, effectiveness and public safety.

It is further reminded that single hit alarm activations, with the only exception of keypad panics, not be reported to the Edmonton Police Service. Continuation to report single hit alarms will result in suspended police response to all alarm activations generating from a location, or in some cases, suspension of police response to all locations monitored by a specific alarm company.

The Edmonton Police Service is committed to continuing to work in partnership with the alarm industry to reduce the number of false alarms requiring police response.   Notwithstanding the requirement for alarm calls for service to meet the Enhanced Call Verification requirements, public safety will always be the guiding principle in the evaluation of these occurrences.  A reduction in response to false alarms will also allow for the timely deployment of police resources to other emergency calls for service in addition to ensuring that police resources are available to respond to alarm occurrences where a strong likelihood of an emergency or crime occurring exists.

The Edmonton Police Service greatly appreciates your assistance in these matters.  Please do not hesitate to contact Alarm Control at 780-421-3410 or alarm.program@edmontonpolice.ca should additional information or clarification be required.