On the Front Lines of False Alarms

When EPS Security won this year’s Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award, it spoke to their diligence not only in the programs they implement on the front lines, but also determination to keep applying for the award when they hadn’t won it in previous years. That stood out to the judges. It’s also those qualities that we think other electronic security companies should consider as they develop and implement worthwhile alarm management programs that work in their front lines.


At SIAC, it’s easy for us to continue encouraging, teaching and sharing information on best alarm management practices. We receive appreciative feedback, but the reality of any program is that it’s only as good as how it’s put into practice on a day-to-day basis. Companies commit to execution. Then consistently do what is necessary to ensure best practices are used every day by their people.

This is hard. We never said getting better (at anything) was easy, much less putting in place a new measure or reforming your current alarm management program. The rubber meets the road through 1,000+ small- to medium-sized electronic security companies committing and executing on those better practices in communities across the United States and Canada.


In short, that means owners/managers of those companies care. That’s the first step to success. Those leaders must push their people and come up with several key indicators where they can improve. Then communicate it to your people. Stay committed. Follow up to see how things are going. And reform, as necessary, as you go along. If something it not working, try something new. If your employees are not prepared to share quality information with customers, put together better materials, train your people and cut them loose to do their jobs.


SIAC is here to help and provide big picture influence and information. We help many communities throughout North America improve how alarms are managed. But it’s you – the companies who read this blog and sell, install and service systems – who are on the front lines who determine local success  or failure. Every owner, every company, every employee is important to this effort. We call on leaders and owners to stay committed and involved on the alarm management front. We know this is hard given all the day-to-day activities you must attend to in running a successful and profitable business.


With your engagement and leadership, your company benefits, as does our industry. Next year may be your time to win the PDQ.  That won’t happen without strong programs right now.

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Florida Police Chiefs Honor SIAC’s Glen Mowrey

Another police chief’s association has honored SIAC’s Glen Mowrey. These awards say a lot about the ongoing good work Glen performs across the country, most recently in the sunshine state, for building good relationships between the electronic security industry and law enforcement, and improving alarm management practices.


In this most recent case, it was the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) that honored Glen. FPCA recognized Glen as an Honorary Member and granted lifetime Honorary Membership for his work with the association. FPCA recognized Glen for his support and guidance to help enhance alarm manage programs and build partnerships.

glen stan

“This is a great honor for me and a privilege to be part of such a professional law enforcement organization. Being a member over the past thirteen years, it has been a highlight in my career, and thank you for the privilege to work with FPCA’s leadership and serving on the Alarm Management Committee and the Public-Private Partnership Committee,” Glen said.


Glen has been with SIAC for 14 years, from 2004-2017. Sometimes we forget the progress we’ve made improving relationships with law enforcement agencies across the U.S. during that time period. Glen has been instrumental in progress with many of those jurisdictions across the United States. It’s easy to lose sight of those improvements when positive impacts can take months or years to surface. Glen stays with the projects, working intensely and doggedly, to ensure the final follow-through benefits all parties.

SIAC thanks Glen for all he does. The electronic security industry AND law enforcement owe him a powerful debt of gratitude.

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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.

pennsylvania police

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.


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.

ivan spector
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.

newport news

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.


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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