What Keeps You up at Night?

What keeps you up at night? Is it the pace of change in the security industry or the need to examine and adopt new technologies? Do you lose sleep thinking about finding the right employees to fit your business model? We all have worries and challenges. Though ours are a bit different than those of a company in the security industry, we have our share of concerns regarding SIAC’s mission and how that affects our supporters. They include:

  • Continuing to develop funding sources to meet increasing requests from law enforcement
  • Heading off local policies and ordinances that place fines on security companies
  • Finding key law enforcement officials to work with on alarm management committees and to develop quality local ordinances
  • Driving our message to more businesses in the electronic security industry
  • Working with other organizations to prepare the next generation of leaders on alarm management issues and other concerns the security industry faces in the years ahead

We could expand on that list, similar to any company, digging into details or adding more bullet points. But these are some of the broader strokes that affect us regularly and drive how we allocate our resources. The bottom line for SIAC is this: Continuing to build on our successes so that alarms are managed properly and problems that could affect the electronic security industry are dealt with proactively and swiftly.

sleepless night

Sometimes companies can become victims of their successes. There are individuals and companies who if they do their jobs properly, work themselves out of their role. Over the past 15 years, SIAC has had many successes, which can lead others to think our role is lesser today. Perhaps that should be the sixth bullet that keeps us up at night.

It is certainly a concern for us, but at the same time we believe our mission has never been more important to the security industry. As we continue improving relationships with law enforcement, refining our approach on alarm ordinances and applying proven successes to new communities, every company in our industry benefits. Our image improves, and you have another selling point for customers – stronger support from communities and customers because we’ve helped raise the bar on alarm management practices.

If you already support SIAC, thank you, and we look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. If you’d like to consider a contribution, please click here. With your support, we can sleep a little easier.

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Success Again in Boulder, CO

Back in the 2005-2006 time period, Ron Walters led SIAC, the alarm industry, and law enforcement to a great success in Boulder, CO. At that time, we were just beginning to refine our efforts with police departments across North America, and Ron’s connections and leadership helped us work locally to implement new provisions of two-call verification, also called ECV (Enhanced Call Verification).
Very quickly, these new provisions worked effectively, reducing the number of calls police responded to from alarms by approximately 60 percent. You can find some of our similar success stories here, but the point we want to make in today’s blog is that policies and ordinances do NOT remain static. Circumstances change. New information emerges. Refinements take place.


That’s a reason we are proud to say SIAC has stepped up again in Boulder to help with a new ordinance that adds additional provisions from our model ordinance package. That means the city should get additional benefits by seeing further reductions in unnecessary alarm activations, and reduced demands on police resources.


Permits will be required for alarm users starting in March 2017. There will also be a tiered fine schedule for those who pull false alarms frequently. Second violations will cost individuals $100, all the way up to $450 for fifth and any subsequent violations.


We expect these changes to continue to help the community, the police department and the alarm industry. They refined the old model, looked at what works well elsewhere, and implemented new provisions to improve on the old standard.  We’re proud to be part of the solution, representing the alarm industry.

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APCO’s Annual Conference in August

APCO (Association of Public Communications Officials) will hold its annual conference in August in Orlando, FL this year. They feature a strong dose of ASAP information (Alarm System Automated Protocol). SIAC encourages you to consider attending to learn more about how ASAP can help improve police response to alarms in terms of effectiveness and speed. Learning more about ASAP allows you to work on this issue locally with law enforcement officials.


APCO, CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association) and Nlets (National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) collaborate to bring ASAP to municipalities across the country. Active engagement by the alarm industry is extremely helpful in this effort. That must come from individuals and companies. Many leaders have stepped forward, but more are necessary if we are to see this important and effective growing trend take a stronger hold in many more jurisdictions.


At the APCO conference, you will be able to meet directly to talk with CSAA officials at their booth. In addition to that, there will be a key session, “ASAP: A Win-Win No-Brainer for Public Safety and the Alarm Industry,” Wednesday, August 17.


Speakers include Bill Hobgood, a subject matter expert on ASAP, Boca Raton’s Cindy Cevallos, CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn, and Duff Wheeler, representing Houston’s Emergency Center. They will describe the agencies that participate in the program, project implementation outcomes, and show a demo. Participants will see how the program reduces 9-1-1 processing and response times to alarm events while eliminating telephone calls, miscommunication errors , between alarm monitoring companies and 9-1-1 PSAPs. It’s a great learning opportunity for companies and individuals in our industry. Check it out here.


More than 20 PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) now use ASAP. More are in the works. See how you can help.

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Young Leaders Needed in the Security Industry

Like many other industries, the electronic security industry needs young leaders to step up in the years ahead. No business survives if its workforce ages, and doesn’t get refueled with new blood.
That’s why the Electronic Security Association’s YSP Rising Leaders Forum is important for our industry. It not only brings together the next generation of leadership, but offers multiple sessions to help you run your business more effectively and meet the demands of a changing marketplace. SIAC urges you to take a look at the sessions if you have a new or younger employee you want to better prepare for a strong future in the security industry.


The forum is October 11-13 at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. If you take a look at their web site, we don’t think you’ll be able to resist. It’s an amazing setting.


The sessions will be amazing as well, including fitness routines, team building, a mentorship program and leadership development. It looks and sounds exciting. Check it out, and sign up if the format fits you or some of your key employees. It will be good for your business, and the long-term health of our industry.

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Legislation from 21 Agencies Added to SIAC Plate

From March 1-May 30 of this year, SIAC added legislation to its plate from 21 local agencies (law enforcement departments/offices). That means we are newly and actively working to explore, draft or pass legislation that impacts the security industry in those jurisdictions. Overall, we currently are engaged in these types of activities in 135 communities across the United States.

Those are BIG numbers. What do they mean to our supporters? It means that we continue to look out for your interests in terms of writing alarm ordinances. Not only do we seek out (with your help) new jurisdictions that can use our experience and knowledge, but that we also stay in touch on an ongoing basis with many communities that need our input and feedback. Our staff – Glen Mowrey, Tom Sweeney, Jon Sargent, Steve Keefer and Ron Walters – look for new opportunities and sustain relationships with agencies for ongoing projects.

us map

The new agencies we added during this period are in 14 states: Tennessee, Virginia, Utah, Florida, Washington, Kentucky, Nevada, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey, Maine, Arizona, South Carolina and California. Take a moment to think about that list. There are big states, small states, states in the south, north, east and west. SIAC covers the country completely.  We’re proud to be able to give you that coverage.

When we step up on an alarm ordinance, SIAC looks at how to reduce unnecessary alarm activations through best practices and better technology. We use a model ordinance as a baseline that has proven effective in hundreds of communities across North America. Utilizing or applying proven best practices through our model ordinance allows law enforcement to be more effective in protecting our community. We also strive to set up systems that work for all the involved parties.

So when we add another new jurisdiction to our list, you can be assured we’ll we working for the best interests of the electronic security industry, the local jurisdiction and law enforcement. That’s why people call and ask for our help.

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CSAA Changes its Name

With the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) changing its name to “The Monitoring Association,” once again we see a reflection of the times: Organizations must adapt to change. The Monitoring Association/CSAA recognizes that the ring of its brand must stand out and embrace all that they do.

We recognize the challenges CSAA and other large non-profit organizations face in staying up-to-date with trends and the needs of their members. Remember years back when NBFAA switched to become ESA? The first effort to make that change failed without buy-in. A large education effort was required to explain why the new name made sense and how it embraced all that ESA stood for.


We agree with the steps The Monitoring Association/CSAA is taking. They’ve looked at what types of companies join the association and the full functions of facilities that monitor calls. Because the electronic security industry is changing in terms of the needs of customers and the type of surveillance they require/desire, they chose to pick a name that gets much closer to broadly encompassing that message in their title.

Titles of organizations reflect the message and brand we project to others. The titles must be dynamic, flexible and stand out so others quickly understand what the association is all about. We believe The Monitoring Association/CSAA made a good choice with this change.

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Amherst Alarm Recognized as PDQ Award Winner

Congratulations to Amherst Alarm as our newest Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award winner! Their comprehensive program to reduce unnecessary dispatches impressively stood out to our judges.

The award – given to the company that promotes best practices working with law enforcement to reduce unnecessary dispatches – was given to Amherst Alarm at ESX 2016 in Fort Worth at the Public Safety and Networking Luncheon. Every company that has won the PDQ Award has a unique approach. Several stood out with Amherst, including their creation of a Client Satisfaction Specialist to contact customers having trouble using their system to offer training on how to use it properly. That helps customers and contributes to growth.

PDQ Amherst

CEO Timothy Creenan has also long been engaged with the Installation Quality (IQ) program, also ensuring Amherst is IQ-certified and uses IQ Guidelines and checklists. Because IQ is about quality installations, that ensures a better alarm management program. Tim sets a great personal example for the industry as well, by his commitment to these principles.

Amherst additionally employs the latest technology, with a heavy emphasis on customer education and customer service, resulting in an amazingly low dispatch rate of .037. This is another great selling tool for Amherst to use with its customers.

Another innovation Amherst employs is utilizing analysis tools to identify clients that are not using their systems. This proactive approach builds customer loyalty and gives clients the confidence to engage.

Amherst Alarm has also earned Five Diamond Certification from the CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association), which requires that 100 percent of its central station operators are certified, having achieved proficiency by passing the Central Station On-Line Operator Training Course.

Congratulations again to Amherst Alarm for this well-deserved award!

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