Pennsylvania Chiefs Establish Alarm Management Committee

Another state has established an Alarm Management Committee due to the persistence and expertise of SIAC’s Glen Mowry, along with a strong commitment from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA) and members of the electronic security industry. We set Glen loose on this issue many years ago, and his consistent efforts bear fruit on a regular basis. PCPA is partnering with SIAC and the security industry through the committee to reduce alarm dispatches which will enable law enforcement to better utilize communications and patrol resources.

 

SIAC’s efforts in this arena began back in early 2004. Since then, we have helped create 13 active state Alarm Management Committees.

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Like other states, the committee in Pennsylvania will be charged with the responsibility of researching alarm management issues and making recommendations to PCPA’s Executive Board and general membership for adoption of effective strategies for local agencies.

 

Two key projects are in the works in Pennsylvania: An Enhanced Call Confirmation (ECC) procedure and developing a Model Alarm Ordinance. Both are major keys to managing alarm systems effectively. The Model Alarm Ordinance is expected to assist local agencies to more quickly and expertly revise their existing ordinance or write a new one.

 

We’re confident with Glen’s help, along with the commitment of Pennsylvania law enforcement officials and members of the state’s security industry that we’ll make the right moves. That’s good for public protection and helping direct law enforcement issues to the most critical issues.

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Harvey and Irma: NOT a Television Show

Harvey and Irma sounds the title of a TV comedy show. We know it’s not. Unless you’ve just returned from the moon, you know they are the biggest one-two punch of hurricanes in history to hit the mainland of the United States.

 

We know the devastation on a personal level, and through the contacts we have in the security industry. While we don’t often weigh in on this blog about these types of events, SIAC believes in this case there’s an important reminder for the electronic security industry.

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Cleanup after environmental disasters is a colossal issue. Doing it right is tremendously important. Protecting lives and property during remediation ensures the safety of property and lives. Our industry plays a huge role in these situations. Please instruct/remind your sales people not to take advantage of situations by overcharging customers or insurance companies through the addition of equipment to  replace damaged systems with “extras”  not part of the original installation.

 

If you do business in areas hit by disasters, SIAC strongly encourages you to go above and beyond the call of duty. Help others. Serve the community. Make sure every service call or installation is done to the highest industry standards.

 

People’s lives depend on the electronic security industry. In times of tragedy, our role is even more important. Please make sure your business steps up to the plate. That’s good for you, your local community and our industry at large. Go above and beyond the call of duty.

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New TMA President Ivan Spector Knows Monitoring Challenges

SIAC congratulates Ivan Spector as he takes over the reins of the The Monitoring Association (TMA), formerly the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA). He knows his stuff. That includes issues related to alarm management.

 
Ivan was a founding member of SIAC’s board, a unique individual with an international perspective on security issues, hailing from Quebec, Canada. The Canadian Alarm Association (CANASA) is one of the four associations represented on our board, and Ivan brought long-term industry knowledge to his position along with a broadening of scope for our coverage into Canada. The issues we deal with are NOT just U.S.-centered. Ivan knows this and has always shared his strong voice of reason directed towards finding solutions. We appreciate that, and know he will bring those qualities as he heads TMA.

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TMA is seeking to grow, and that change is reflected in its new brand name. Reaching out to companies that monitor who are not boxed in by the “security monitoring” mantle is one of Spector’s challenges. We know he will think and act outside the box to bring new companies to the association and it will be stronger because of him.

 

Technology, membership, education and investment in growing ASAP (Automated Secure Alarm Protocol) are all top issues he will focus on. From SIAC’s perspective, when Ivan and TMA succeed, the electronic security industry and SIAC succeed as well. Why is that?

Quite simply, it’s because we have intertwined goals. Quality monitoring reduces the number of false dispatches. Better educated service representatives means quality information is shared on the ground with customers. They learn to operate their systems more effectively. This, too, minimizes false dispatches. Better technology like ASAP streamlines and standardizes the call-our process to customers when an alarm signal goes out. That reduces human error and simplifies the process.

 

Because Spector understands these issues through his over-40 years of industry experience, he is well-positioned to help companies grow and improve. But beyond that, Ivan is a leader and someone who teaches others while bringing them together. We’ve seen him in action for many years and know he will benefit all of us. Congratulations Ivan. We’re looking forward to your leadership.

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Newport News, VA Goes Live with Automated Secure Alarm Protocol

Newport News, VA became the latest municipality to go live with the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). That’s progress. SIAC salutes this step and we continue to encourage other jurisdictions to adopt this technology.

 

The technology automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers, resulting in improved accuracy and speed of emergency response. That’s good for everyone – emergency responders, security companies, and homes and businesses that have alarm systems.

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Within Virginia alone, the city of Richmond, James City County, York County and Henrico County already utilize the ASAP technology. As the success of ASAP spreads, we expect it should become easier for more to follow suit and learn from the experiences of those who have already implemented the system.

 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t salute Vector Security in this effort since they have been integral in pushing ASAP through The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the efforts of Pam Petrow, President of Vector. Leadership makes things happen, and Pam and Vector continuously demonstrate by being in front of issues, influencing others to take up mantle. Thank you. For additional ASAP information, click here on the TMA web site.

 

Other municipalities that have implemented ASAP include Houston and High Point, TX; Washington D.C.; Tempe and Chandler, AZ; Boca Raton, FL; Cary and Guilford County, NC; Kernersville and Durham County, NC; Johnston County, NC; Denton County and Grand Prairie, TX; Morgan County, AL; Delaware County, OH; Bucks County, PA; and Highland Park, TX.

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Municipalities Banned from Fining Alarm Companies in California

Great news folks! California recently passed legislation that was signed by Governor Jerry Brown that bans municipalities from proactively fining alarm companies for a customer’s false alarms.  AB 1616 was signed into law July 31. Similar language is now on the books in Florida, California and Texas – the three largest states.

 

Specifically, “This bill would prohibit an alarm company operator or an alarm agent from being liable for civil penalties and fines assessed by a city, county, or city and county for false alarms not attributed to alarm company operator error, improper installation of the alarm system by an alarm agent or an alarm company operator, defective equipment provided or installed by an alarm agent or an alarm company operator, or defective equipment leased by an alarm company operator,” according to language in the bill.

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What does that mean for us in the electronic security industry? It means a major step by a big state that supports the perspective of our industry and one SIAC espouses and fights tirelessly for. That’s a major victory. Over the past few years, we’ve seen municipalities began to seek authority to fine alarm companies for a customer’s false alarms. This legislation stops that from occurring.

 
Because of similar legislation in the other states noted above, we’re seeing our industry get out in front of this ball rather than reacting. We urge you to remain vigilant in your state to egregious changes to local laws and ordinances. If you see or hear of something adversely affecting our industry, please reach out to Stan Martin at stan@siacinc.org, 972.377.9401. Send us relevant information. If you leave a message, we will get back to your promptly.

 

SIAC also urges you to get involved with your state legislature on this issue through your alarm association. We can provide you materials to reach out and inform elected officials on why this legislation makes sense.

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Do You Have an Issue for SIAC?

Do you have an issue for SIAC that you would like us to write about? Send it our way to Stan Martin via email at stan@siacinc.org. We are always looking for new subject matter (or even an idea) for our blog and are open to hearing from anyone in the security industry.

Given our mission to help improve alarm management practices across North America, the best topics would revolve around that issue in some way. But we often cover other topics, from industry awards and recognition to new technologies and leadership. We believe it is important to support companies and organizations that make the security industry better, and to shine a light on cutting edge issues of interest to us all.

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We don’t have all the ideas, nor do we pretend to. We do need to get input from others though to ensure we have a rounded perspective on what others are thinking. Hot topics don’t typically arise suddenly. They’re usually percolating just below the surface, and a specific event often then triggers a wider public response.

To get to critical issues early and develop solutions means being open to hearing from others across a wide spectrum. We spend a lot of time working on our contacts both in law enforcement and the electronic security industry. We’re there at conferences, state and national association meetings. We listen and learn, and provide useful information for you to use as the local, state or federal level. We don’t know it all, nor do we pretend to.

But we will know more as we engage a wider audience. Find out more about us clicking any of these links: Facebook, Twitter, our Blog or our Web site. Keep us posted. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hot Activity in Arizona and Georgia

There’s hot activity out there. And we’re not talking about temperature. We’re talking about hot issues.

 

There’s a major verified response issue in Prescott Valley, AZ. And in Sandy Springs, GA, the city council has voted to make alarm companies pay for fines, rather than having customers pay for them. SIAC is engaged and involved on both fronts. That’s what we do.

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SIAC has been engaged for over 15 years on non-response issue related to alarm system. Over the past several years, the fining of alarm companies for customer problems has become an ongoing concern. So, we testify before city councils, meet with public officials, provide testimony, and work towards solutions. Our goal is always to support the electronic security industry, but also to work cooperatively towards solutions that benefit the local community.
In both Prescott Valley and Sandy Springs, our industry must engage. We don’t get positive change without stepping to the plate. For companies in those communities, SIAC strongly urges you to get involved. Research the issues, contact your city council member and testify. Provide input.

 

Step up. Follow us on our State Activity Report. You’ll find important information, and ways you can help not only your company, but our industry as a whole. That’s extremely important. Go to the two links above, and put time on your schedule to attend the next meeting with those cities. If you do business in those communities, it’s incumbent to your bottom line.

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