PDQ Entries Needed

We need your entries for the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award. SIAC recognizes it takes time and a lot of effort to submit a quality program for this annual award, so we have extended the entry deadline until May 12. You can access information on the program and entering the contest here.


We know that companies in the electronic security industry are busy selling to customers, installing and servicing systems and following up with customers. That’s how the bottom line thrives. But, at SIAC, we also know that having a great alarm management program is a feather in you cap to better differentiate your business from a competitor’s.


That’s where the PDQ program comes in. If you are chosen as the winner, you get added publicity and a selling tool to customers – the best program in the country at minimizing and eliminating false dispatches. Even if you don’t win, there are benefits.

Putting together an application forces you to look at your operations. You’ll find some things that you are doing well, and others where you can improve. Going through that process helps you identify areas to get better, a cornerstone for your long-term success as a business.

We strongly encourage you to take a look at the PDQ program and send your entries in soon. Previous winners have used their award to publicize good things they do in their local community. That gives them positive visibility and a step up on competitors. You could be next.

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An Ode to Jon Sargent: Heading Away while still Shining the Spotlight

Jon Sargent retired from Tyco April 14. That news saddened us at SIAC when Jon made the announcement. Not only does the electronic security industry lose an industrious, smart, insightful individual who GETS THINGS DONE repeatedly to advance the interests of our industry, but we are losing a high quality human being. We know because Jon has been intimately involved and helpful on SIAC affairs for over 15 years.


He joined our team as SIAC got started after the turn of the century, volunteering from his full-time position at ADT and going the extra distance to meet with police chiefs, state associations and city councils throughout the western part of the United States. If there was a critical alarm management issue in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington or Utah, you would find Jon in attendance, plugged in, aware, and working hard to ensure our (and your) best interests were represented. He made (and makes) SIAC better.


On the national scene, you could see Jon stepping up at functions and on committees and large events for the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Central Station Alarm Association (now The Monitoring Association), Security Industry Association (SIA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He testified. He contributed on reports and standards. He provided important insights on trends. He made friends. We’re proud to count him among ours.


Jon won’t be going away completely. He will continue to shine the light (see our graphic with this post) on issues as a volunteer with SIAC. But day-to-day, he will be retired from his full-time paid job. We will miss that. We all will be weakened by his absence.


But, we support him and wish him the best as he takes on retirement. Jon served many years with the Sea Scouts as a volunteer (does “volunteer” keep coming up when we mention his name?), and his son has followed that love of the sea as a Chief inthe U.S. Navy. We expect to see Jon on a few boats and continuing to travel through that venue and others with his wife Christine.


His interests were diverse. Few readers of this blog probably know of Jon’s love of pipe organ music.

pipe organ

While on the road for SIAC, ADT and Tyco, Jon would detour to an old church or a small house in the middle of an old section of town to meet up with a local individual who owned an antique organ. It is a passion of his. His passion for the instrument mirrors the passion he brought to work on issues for our industry. He cared. He was interested in finding things out. And ultimately, Jon was committed to getting things done. That ability and willingness is often in short supply today, and we should all bear in mind Jon’s leadership and take a page from his manual.


Dave Simon was introduced to Jon in 2004. Early on in his job with Brink’s Home Security, Dave went to Tacoma, WA, to testify on issues before the Pierce County Council. Dave got verbally attacked by a member of the council. Jon was in attendance. Afterwards, Jon came up to Dave to tell him how well he had represented Brink’s and the industry, listening well to the concerns, answering questions fully, accepting responsibility for the issues and pledging to provide more information. That support speaks volumes about who Jon is. He stands behind you. He stands behind the electronic security industry and SIAC. He is often behind the scenes, but he always helped shine the spotlight where it needed to be.
We’re confident he will continue to shine the spotlight in the right spots in the years ahead. We will miss you, Jon!


“It’s rare to find a person like Jon who is passionate, and a knowledgeable leader who possesses the skill to successfully negotiate through trying circumstances. Jon was so much more than a valued team member — he was a wise and trusted friend. He’s earned his retirement and we all wish him the very best!,” said SIAC’s Stan Martin.
Sign up to attend ESX 2017 in Nashville and celebrate with Jon when he receives the national industry’s highest award, the Morris Weinstock “Person of the Year.” It is scheduled to be held June 13 at 6 p.m. in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.


ESX link to register: http://www.esxweb.com/.

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Permit Fees Down, Fines Up in San Diego

Permit fees are going down in San Diego. But fines for false dispatches are going up. That’s one way for a city to take a strong step to get reductions in unnecessary alarm activations. SIAC supports what San Diego is doing.


A committee of the city council voted last week to take the steps noted above. While the full council still must approve the changes later this spring, we’re heartened by the important provisions San Diego includes in this measure, including: 2-call confirmation; permit fees; and a tiered fine system that increases after each false dispatch.

san diego

We’ve found over and over across North America that behavior doesn’t change without a structure in place to drive actions. Then, enforcement must occur. Once these new provisions get to the next step and are incorporated by the police into their local ordinance, with enforcement, then alarm management practices improve.


Good job San Diego! The city previously charged only when multiple false alarms had prompted revocation of a permit, which happened relatively frequently. While the new approach is expected to reduce revenue, we believe the results will be better, as the fines come sooner and should get the results the city seeks.


The results should also free up officer time. The changes are something we call can get behind.

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Salute to Scott Goldfine as 12th Annual PDQ Award Contest Opens

It’s hard to believe, we know, but this year marks the 12th year for the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award. Who would have thought support would run this long and strong?


Certainly, Scott Goldfine over at Security Sales & Integration would. He was an early advocate and driver of the PDQ program and everyone in the electronic security industry has him to thank for pushing this project along, year after year.

police dispatch
We can remember that initial launching, with Scott bringing up the value of promoting good alarm management programs, the core emphasis of PDQ. He recognized and continues to recognize how important it is to demonstrate and communicate best practices throughout our industry. That helps individual companies improve operations and ultimately benefits our entire industry.


Thank you Scott, for getting the PDQ up and running, and staying with it all these years.  SIAC appreciates all that you do for the electronic security industry.
For those looking to apply, click here. The deadline for submissions is April 28.


We look forward to reviewing applications and seeing what’s novel in the alarm management universe. We learn something new every year. That’s a great sign, and another indication of forward thinking within industry leadership.

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An Open Letter of Support from Yuba City, California

To our readers:


Original letter to SIAC’s Ron Walters from Shirley Johnson of the Yuba City (CA) Police Department:




As an attendee of the SAAC meeting on February 23rd, I was very impressed with the presentation.  The alarm industry and law enforcement is fortunate to have SIAC to assist them with various situations.  I’d like to take advantage of your expertise and have you review the attached proposed alarm ordinance for Yuba City.


Thank you for your assistance in reviewing this document.


Shirley Johnson

Alarm Permits

Yuba City Police Department



Above is an example of routine correspondence SIAC receives but most never see. This is the result of a presentation Ron Walters did at the Sacramento Alarm Association meeting, where police jurisdictions were in attendance.  Of course we conduct similar briefings where a police department hosts the meeting and invites other jurisdictions. Those are typically done by SIAC retired chiefs.
In these cases, we take the proposed ordinance attached, and SIAC reviews it to insure uniform definitions; see if all best practices are included; and check for onerous provisions and/or ambiguous language. We will actually change language to reflect our suggestions using MS Word review so they can accept or reject each recommendation and will include a summary email explaining the changes.  If an ordinance is old or requires a major rework, we supply our new short version marked up with the cities information so they can consider a nice clean start. Many times they prefer the later.

Please feel free to share this blog with others. We believe it is important to get this message out as far and wide as possible.

Again, thanks for everyone’s support!
Stan Martin

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The ESA Recruiting Toolkit

One of the items that struck our attention at ESA’s just-completed Leadership Summit in Tampa, FL, was a recruiting toolkit that they’ve put online for companies in the security industry. Every year, one of the big issues that come up in discussion forums is the need to recruit and retain new employees. In short, our industry isn’t widely recognized around the country. That makes finding people a challenge.

Enter ESA. You’ll find information here; most importantly, you’ll find useful tools for your business to guide you through recruitment, hiring and retention.

Most companies in the electronic security industry are small businesses. They don’t have a human resources director or a position set aside to recruit, hire and train. Instead, most frequently, it’s the owner who does that. He or she finds a candidate through advertising, networking or social media, vets the individual(s), then makes a decision.

The ESA web page helps you with the candidate search, co-branded materials and establishing compensation. Other sections of the page help companies develop job descriptions, put together a recruitment video and see what type of best practices are used by others to retain good employees. We recommend you take a look and see if the tools help your company.


ESA provides many valuable programs together for members and is constantly looking at how we can improve our businesses through growth, improved technology, better training and fresh blood to fill openings with talent. ESA also helps SIAC by consistently providing us venues to put our message in front of larger audiences, and generously contributing $25,000 annually to our mission. We appreciate their constant attention to what makes our industry successful, and refining what we do to make companies better. Their toolkit is one more example of a big service they provide us all.

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Pennsylvania County Goes Live with ASAP

The first county in Pennsylvania has gone live with the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Bucks County joined the growing list of localities choosing to automate their dispatch processing for alarm signals. It’s an important program that helps improve alarm management practices.

SIAC stands strongly behind cities, counties and hopefully all 911 centers to get onboard with this program. Developed by CSAA and APCO, this program has been well vetted and proven valuable to all parties.


The protocol means Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), where local calls are answered to dispatch emergency personnel, can accept information between automated systems over a secure communication path, rather than just by phone between two people talking. This eliminates errors and speeds dispatch. That’s good for the jurisdiction, alarm users and alarm companies.

Bucks County is north of Philadelphia with a population of approximately 620,000 in 23 boroughs and 31 townships. One of the big advantages to the county picking up ASAP is that response transcends the borough and township boundaries. That simplifies response for all jurisdictions in the area.

Help us continue to publicize this positive step for our industry. The more electronic security companies share this information and work with other jurisdictions around the country, the more progress we’ll see in terms of updating and improving response. That’s good for everyone.

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