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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EPS Takes Home 12th Annual Police Dispatch Quality Award

Engineered Protection Systems (EPS) took home the 12th annual Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award. As one of the sponsors of the award, SIAC was on hand to present the it at ESX in Nashville, TN in late June.

 

EPS has applied for the award more than once. Their diligence and ongoing high quality alarm management programs were rewarded. This says a lot about EPS, and what it takes to successfully improve alarm management practices: a commitment to the cause and follow-through. You can’t magically assume that through good intentions your company will be able to reduce the number of unnecessary calls for police dispatch.

PDQ EPS

Instead, it takes clear direction from management of the company, as EPS demonstrated, then development of the programs and follow-through by committed employees. EPS had all these components in its program, and that says a lot about them.

 

EPS puts its effort into executing on its beliefs. Engineered Protection Systems has consistently shown itself to be extraordinarily conscientious, exacting and effective where it comes to alarm management and dispatches. These efforts have garnered EPS recognition as a PDQ runner-up on multiple occasions, which is quite an achievement in itself.

 

EPS has served the Michigan community since 1955. The company has locations in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Petoskey. An in-depth look at the company’s award-winning practices will be featured in the October issue of Security Sales and Integration Magazine.

 

SIAC, the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and Security Sales & Integration established the PDQ award program in 2005. Honeywell provides a $1,000 donation to the winner.

 

Also endorsed by the Installation Quality (IQ) program, the PDQ award program spotlights alarm installing and monitoring businesses for creating best practices that help prevent false alarm dispatches.

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Leo Guthart Honored with Moody Award

This past week at ESX, we recognized Leo Guthart with the William Moody Award, for exemplary service to the electronic security industry and his positive impact on alarm management issues. For a long time, Leo chaired SIAC’s Board of Directors. In that role, he made sure we stuck to our task, managed our budgets effectively and demonstrated results congruent with our mission. His nose to the grindstone kept our nose to the grindstone.

Leo Guthart

But Leo has been much more than that to both SIAC and our industry overall. He’s been a leader, setting the tone, digging tirelessly and with great insight into the big issues we face. I saw that repeatedly while Leo served as our chair.

 

His accomplishments in this industry predate even me, and I’ve known him for over 35 years. Anytime we have needed help, he stepped forward with his time and resources. During the RBOC fight, WHERE OUR VERY EXISTENCE AS AN INDUSTRY WAS THREATENED, Leo came to Washington D.C. and delivered an incredibly powerful message to members of Congress that resonated in the halls of the Capital for years. Thanks to Leo’s support, the industry was victorious, against all odds.

 

However, in my opinion, the true measure of a person’s character and love for this industry was displayed after Pittway was purchased by Honeywell. With his money in the bank, and a long list of successful endeavors, he could have easily departed to the beaches of Hawaii, but not Leo. He had recognized for a long time that alarm management and law enforcement relationships were critical to the long-term viability of our industry. He stepped forward again and offered his time and resources to help form SIAC in 2002 and then graciously agreed to chair the Board of Directors, with no pay, no perks, no glory, just the dedication to an industry he loves.

 

And he has been doing that same work for SIAC for 15 consecutive years! I can’t thank him enough. SIAC can’t thank him enough. Indeed, our industry can’t thank him enough. With the Moody Award, we are thanking Leo as best we can, recognizing that it’s difficult for our appreciation to match his accomplishments.

 

Stan Martin

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Innovation Award Winners Announced by ESX

Many of us from SIAC will be at ESX in Nashville in couple of weeks. There are many reasons we, and others, attend. Networking, training, great meals, new vendors and awards ceremonies are all good reasons. The sessions advance attendees personally, professionally and for fun.

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Though it’s not a hidden issue, one of the big reasons to attend, and an area that SIAC pays close attention to, is the area of innovation. ESX will recognize its innovation winners that week (they’ve already been announced, which you can access here). The innovation awards are about products and services.

 

Improved alarm management practices are frequently driven by innovation. Those companies going above and beyond not only create additional revenue for the electronic security industry, but frequently improve value for companies in new ways – like enhancing effectiveness of an alarm system. That’s good for everyone in security.

 

There’s a saying about how you can never go back. You can live in the past, share nostalgic memories. But that doesn’t move your company in the direction the world is headed. If you live in the past, your head is in the sand.

 

Innovation is good. New products and services are important to all of us. SIAC supports ESX’S Innovation Award winners. When you are in Nashville, stop by the ceremony. Listen to the accomplishments. See if if some of them make sense for you.

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Kent, WA and Owasso, OK Newly Featured on State Activity Report

Two new items have just been posted to SIAC’s State Activity Report, and they reflect two reasons you should check out our site on a regular basis. If you are either a security systems integrator or monitoring facility, the posts we put up on the site affect you and your bottom line.

 
Of the two most recent additions, one concerns Kent, Washington: Effective June 1, police will no longer respond to non-verified, problem or chronic alarms at businesses in order to free up officers to deal with crimes across the city. Officers will continue to respond to residential alarms. The police will still go to high-risk alarms like gun stores or pharmacies.

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If you are in the alarm business serving the Kent area, this news is not good, but you need to understand the new requirements and why they came about. SIAC fights for you on issues like this, and we will work hard with local officials to see if we can re-introduce police response to the city. Regardless of the outcome, having this knowledge makes your business better prepared to effectively serve your customers in the best way possible.

 
Our second posting concerns Owasso, Oklahoma, where an alarm registration fee has been proposed. This tends to be good for continued alarm response. To best serve your customers, you need this information to ensure permits are properly set up when you sell a system. If not, you’re leaving customers exposed, and that’s not a good thing.

 
Not all the news is good that we post on SIAC’s State Activity Report. But it is necessary, and important to electronic security companies. Bookmark our page. Register on the site. Check it regularly. It will give you a heads up on the competition.

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