Security Technology Critical to Protect Law Officers

Sometimes we forget, but ISC West will help us remember this year how critical security technology is in helping to protect law enforcement officers. SIAC is proud to support one of the key sessions this week in Las Vegas, covering this issue.

The session we’re sponsoring addresses the Ferguson, MO incident from last year, and what newer forms of technology could have done to help prevent the problem from escalating. The session is entitled “Responding to Ferguson,” and can be accessed here:

Captain Greg Smith of the Missouri Highway Patrol, will headline the presentation April 16 | 3:00pm-4:00pm | Room 704. It is open to all ISC West Badge holders, and sponsored by SIAC.

We hope you attend. There are tough public policy issues every day, and our industry has the tools to help. Further dialogue is certainly necessary to continue building a stronger network that prevents these situations in the future, provides greater certainty in choices for law enforcement and citizens to understand the full facts of what went on, and captures data and images necessary regarding the full sequence of what occurred.

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History of SIAC: The Beginnings

(Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series on the history of SIAC. We hope you enjoy it.)

After serving the industry for almost 12 years, there are a great many who have no idea of the history of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, better known as SIAC. In 1997 the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and SACOP – State Association of Chiefs of Police — asked the alarm industry to study the growing issue of unneeded dispatches to alarm calls. This joint project became known as the Model States project.

Model States became the first large effort to understand the cause and cure of the false dispatch issue. The study would be conducted in four states: Florida, California, Illinois and Washington State, and each of these states would have a full-time coordinator to work with law enforcement. Additionally, each state would have a designated Chief of Police to oversee the effort and help open doors to law enforcement agencies so that the coordinators could do their work.

To oversee the entire project, ADI committed the resources of VP of Industry Relations, Stan Martin, to bring it all together. Unique to Model States was that all of the work would be handled by personnel hired to specifically work full-time on a single issue.

Prior to Model States, the industry’s work was done by volunteers who met a few times a year, held conference calls and then a staff person would track and report results or findings. Model States would use these full-time employees to delve deeply into the issue.

(Part Two next will delve into the Central Station Alarm Association’s Involvement)

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Serving the Security Industry

You may not have seen us recently at your alarm association meeting, but our SIAC reps are out there. We listen to your needs, and provide materials, advice and training as necessary to help improve the way our industry collectively handles alarm management issues.

In just the past two weeks, for example, our staff have visited and met with alarm industry officials in 22 communities. That’s 11 per week between our core members of Tom Sweeney, Steve Keefer, Jon Sargent, Ron Walters and Glen Mowrey.

Where have we been? Here are some of the bigger names you may recognize from those two weeks: The Alarm Association of Florida; AIREF (the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation) Research Project; Alarm Association of Florida – How to Work with Law Enforcement and Build Practical/Lasting Working Relationship; California Alarm Association ; Nevada Security Association.

Sometimes we join you on a conference call. Sometimes we testify for your local association in front of the city council. Sometimes we meet with you personally. And at others, we give a presentation to your state or regional association. We’re out there for you, traveling, sharing information, giving you quality information on the lessons learned across North America. Call us if you need help, and if you’d like to help us out with a donation, click here, and remember we are a non-profit organization and survive on your contributions:

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Grow Your Existing Client Base

There are many ways to expand your business. New products and services are a logical choice that most electronic security companies select. You look at what others are selling, or what is making them successful, then seek to emulate that.

Certainly, it’s a winning formula. You find out what your customers want, then deliver.

At the same time, growing your client base can be overlooked. It’s worth additional focus, particularly when you consider your alarm management program. If you have a high quality alarm management program, that is a selling point to expand your list of customers.

You should publicize this. Let potential customers know why a high quality alarm management program is important and how that sets you apart from your competitors. And while you’re at it, take a look at the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award program, and consider putting an application in: Time is growing short, and if you win, it will be one more way you grow our business.

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PDQ Deadline Extended; ESX Innovation Award Entries Sought

The Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award deadline for submissions has been extended to March 31. In its 10th year, the award recognizes the best-in-class alarm management program for a security systems integrator and/or monitoring company. Past winners include: Monitronics; Vector Security (Pittsburgh); HS Technology Troup; Custom Alarm; Broadview Security (now ADT); Atronic Alarms (Lenexa, KS); Alarm Detection Systems; and Brink’s Home Security.

Information to enter can be found on SIAC’s Web site:

Similarly, with ESX coming up in Baltimore this June, entries are being sought by April 1 for their Innovation Awards. They were formerly called the Maximum Impact Awards.

This year there will be 15 categories, along with several new sub-categories: DIY Security, Secure Wireless Communication Technology, and Activity Sensing/Medicine Management. For a list of ESX 2015 Innovation Award categories and submission forms, or contact Allison Avril at 774.203.6394 or

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SACOP and Alarm Management Committees: Making it Happen

One of the reasons Alarm Management Committees are growing and becoming increasingly active and effective is the involvement of the State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP). These committees, now operating in 15 states, bring together key leadership from police chiefs in the state and members of the alarm industry. The goal is to work together and find cooperative solutions to improve the management of alarm systems.

The SACOP Spring Meeting just concluded in San Antonio, and we were pleased to have SIAC Law Liaisons Glen Mowrey and Steve Keefer (both retired police chiefs) in attendance. They were able to network with Executive Directors of the SACOP chapters and their leadership presidents or representatives (chiefs). SIAC proudly served as a Silver Sponsor of the event.

This event and other SACOP meetings help us reaffirm to our law enforcement partners the electronic security industry’s commitment to the alarm management committee concept. We also seek to establish new committees during our time meeting with officials. This past week, Glen and Steve spoke with representatives in many states, including Utah, Colorado, Arizona and California.

SIAC invests considerable resources in SACOP because these are the folks that make it happen in their respective states — setting up committees leads to long-term communications between local alarm industry state representatives and law enforcement, which leads to state-approved model ordinances and often state legislation to mandate ECV (2-call verification) and/or use of control panels utilizing the SIA ANSI CP-01 Standard.

This helps accomplish one of our primary goals — to seek long-term positive relations with law enforcement and distribute model ordinances that utilize well-proven best practices. Well-managed alarm programs benefit law enforcement, citizens in the communities and ultimately the security business. SACOP meetings and the relationships SIAC builds with officials during those meetings go a long way to getting us there.

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Connected Homes Also Pose Threats

The more connected we’ve become around the globe with smart phones and wireless technology, the greater the potential for hackers to compromise our personal information. As the many incidents publicized in the news the past 18 months or so demonstrate, there is a criminal element looking to take advantage of you by stealing your credit/debit cards, personal data and more.

As the home and business security grows in size through the interconnectedness available through smart phone/wireless technology, we need to be extra aware during sales, installations and service to ensure these threats are minimized. We also need to focus on teaching customers the safe and proper operation of their alarm systems through these technologies to minimize unnecessary alarm activations.

Technology jumps quickly. Training and systems don’t always adapt as quickly. It’s simple for customers to use their phone to operate their alarm system, locks, lights, air conditioning/heating and video cameras. It’s much harder for the installing company to ensure that customer operates each of those systems carefully and with due diligence to minimize inadvertent alarm activations.

Networks can be hacked. That means vulnerabilities. SIAC encourages electronic security companies to continue refining your culture so that the most up-to-date technologies, training and data protection programs are part of your service offerings. To find out more how we can help your business improve alarm management practices, go to:

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