As the cliché goes, “Politics are local.” Why should our industry be any different?
The electronic security industry is made up of a lot of smaller companies. Well over half of our business is done by companies with less than 25 employees. That means many firms operate in a town, a city or a county, and perhaps are not even statewide in their reach. Certainly, some cross state lines when they are situated near a border, but a five-person family-owned security company in Columbus, Nebraska, is not likely to be doing business in South Dakota or Iowa. They’re keeping it local.
Because of this, we need to keep working alarm management issues from a local perspective. Here at SIAC, we educate, inform and work for the industry to share best practices, ordinances and legislation across jurisdictions, from city to city and state to state. What works in one location can often work in another.
Though this is true most of the time, it’s also true that we must adapt to local conditions. What works in the Pacific Northwest may not apply to how officials operate in southern Georgia. We struggle in these situations, knowing that we’ve been successful with ordinances that begin fines on the first false alarm. It is a tight standard and works to reduce unwanted dispatch calls. But not every jurisdiction wants this.
The reasons vary. We need to remember to pursue consistent, strong and enforceable standards that help local jurisdictions handle their resource load most effectively. To do that, we need to keep our mission in mind to improve alarm management practices nationally, while at the same time leaving room to adjust to local politics.
It’s a tightrope. We’re not perfect. Ordinances aren’t perfect. But as we keep refining what works and what doesn’t, we’re making long-term significant progress, one city at a time.