Cities and suburbs are slashing services. This newspaper or Internet headline could have been written for Anywhere, USA over the past two years or so. The trickle-down effect from the financial services industry implosion hit the housing industry, and in turn the security industry. To a certain extent, we have not suffered as much as other industries, but as borrowed money became less available, the crunch has moved onto the public sector from the private sector.
A recent news account from Michigan detailed how this hits public services. Pontiac has cut nearly two-thirds of its police force the past five years (THAT’S TWO-THIRDS!!!), with more layoffs announced last week. Wayne city officials are considering outsourcing police, fire and emergency medical service staff to close a budget deficit. And in Beverly Hills, CA, officials say they’ll shrink the police force and end library service if voters reject a millage hike in November.
These are not isolated cases. You need only to pick up your local newspaper and within a couple of weeks, you’ll read a story about constraints facing local governments. Traditionally, public services have been spared drastic cuts. However, with the depth of the recession, even police and fire services are seeing these significant reductions. This affects our industry.
Thankfully, we share a common bond with law enforcement – finding new ways to protect the homes and property of the citizens. With creative local ordinances, we have options to offer police to actually improve public safety, and recapture some of the resources they need. The Model Ordinance endorsed by SIAC is a perfect example of how we can work together effectively.
At its core, the Model Ordinance is designed to not only significantly reduce the unnecessary calls to police from alarm signals, but it also implements a system to permit the systems, and charge fines for excessive false dispatches. No one wants to put additional burdens on law enforcement. In fact, by helping the police, we not only make their jobs easier, but we can build greater trust, and increase their budget through a reasonable alarm ordinance that makes sense to the police department, the citizens of the community and the security industry.
Here at SIAC, we’re doing our part by continuing to push for implementation of the Model Ordinance in many jurisdictions across the U.S. Alarm dealers also need to their part. You can ensure customers are trained promptly and properly on how to use their security systems, and repair any defects or problem accounts quickly. Additionally, use two-call verification (Enhanced Call Verification) and control panels built to the ANSI SIA CP-01 standard. Not only are these good business practices, but they help protect our communities, and build good relationships with law enforcement.
For more info on the Model Ordinance, check out our Web site at http://www.siacinc.org.