Amherst Alarm Steps Up to Help SIAC Fight Harmful Ordinances That Target the Alarm Industry and Its Customers

Frisco, Texas (April 19, 2018) – Industry leader Timothy M. Creenan, CEO of Amherst Alarm, Inc., is calling for others in the alarm industry to join the fight against harmful ordinances that threaten the industry’s ability to protect lives and property, such as the ordinance put in place by Sandy Springs, Georgia.

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Tim Creenan

Creenan says that his company will donate 10 cents for each of its customers to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), resulting in a substantial donation. The donation will be divided between the fund established to fight the Sandy Springs ordinance and funding for SIAC’s ongoing nationwide activities to promote a “Model Alarm Ordinance” that has dramatically decreased false alarms in communities nationwide.

“There is no question that cities such as Sandy Springs negatively impact our business and our customers with ordinances based on misinformation or animosity toward our industry,” said Creenan. “A small investment now will pay tremendous dividends if ordinances that fine alarm companies, impose outrageous fees for registration and false alarms, and generally discourage or punish people from protecting their lives and property go unchallenged.”

SIAC is providing the background information for and organizing the legal challenge to the Sandy Springs ordinance in U.S. District Court. In addition, SIAC’s professional staff meets with public safety leaders throughout the United States and interfaces with leading public safety organizations to promote proven solutions that include the Model Alarm Ordinance, created with input from law enforcement.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” said Stan Martin, SIAC executive director, “there are individuals in the country who spend a considerable amount of their time trying to undermine our industry’s credibility and promote ordinances that either fine alarm companies or severely limit police response to alarms. Their misinformation campaigns can take root when there is no alternative voice to provide expertise on the issue.

“Without a proactive program to engage the nation’s 18,000 public safety agencies these efforts will gain momentum, harm our relationship with customers and place excessive administrative and financial burdens on our businesses,” Martin continued.

Creenan urges other companies to make the same donation of 10 cents per customer:
“I can’t think of any investment with a higher potential ROI than funding SIAC’s well-established track record for promoting the Model Alarm Ordinance and fighting back when our industry and those we serve are attacked. It is clearly a case of pay now or pay much more later.”

Donate to SIAC Now

TMA Response to Sandy Springs, GA Action Against Alarm Companies

Earlier this week, the City of Sandy Springs, GA revoked the registration of 39 alarm companies operating within the city “due to delinquent payment of fines for violations” of the Sandy Springs false alarm ordinance. Alarm companies which do not have a current, valid registration with the city are not eligible to request emergency personnel response in connection with their activated intrusion (burglar) alarms systems within Sandy Springs. The registration is revoked when an alarm company does not pay fines for alarm user-caused false alarms.

Among other troubling legal concerns, this ordinance, which went into effect in September, violates the due process clause of the Constitution because it makes alarm companies responsible for the actions of a customer over whom they have no control. That hasn’t stopped Sandy Springs from revoking registrations from TMA member companies.

Sandy Springs’ actions are a threat to public safety. Other municipalities are watching what happens in Sandy Springs. We must prevent this from becoming a precedent for other municipalities — and preserve our ability to provide services to those who use security systems to protect their homes, businesses and properties.

TMA and our partners are fighting this ordinance through the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). Contributions are needed now to fund our legal action.

Please visit SIAC to make a donation. Should you have questions or need guidance, contact TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn at jhauhn@tma.us.

Atlanta Police Department Honored for Excellence in Alarm Management

Marietta GA PolicePhoto: Marietta (GA) Police Chief Dan Flynn and SIAC Law Enforcement National Liaison Glen Mowrey Present Security Industry Alarm Coalition Directors Award of Distinction for Excellence in Alarm Management to Atlanta (GA) Police Assistant Chief Rodney Bryant.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) Directors Award of Distinction for Excellence in Alarm Management was presented to the Atlanta (GA) Police Department during a December Command Staff Meeting. The Atlanta Police Department using the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP) Model Alarm Ordinance reduced their alarm calls by 56.9 percent over a four-year period, dropping alarm dispatches from 65,000 calls annually to 28,000 a reduction of 37,000 calls, netting 11.74 officers.

The award was presented by Chief Dan Flynn, Marietta (GA) Police Department and Chair of the GACP Alarm Management Committee and SIAC National Law Enforcement Liaison Glen Mowrey.  Chief of Police Erika Shields stated, “The reduction in alarm dispatches is significant for us and allows our officers to engage in additional community and crime prevention initiatives.”  She further stated, “We’ve worked with the alarm industry through the GACP’s Alarm Management Committee in developing our alarm program, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the committee and the industry in achieving greater results in the future”.

GACP Alarm Management Committee Chair, Chief Dan Flynn commented, “The Atlanta Police Department, being the major law enforcement agency in the state, is an excellent example of developing an effective alarm reduction program, and the committee commends Chief Shields and their leadership.”

Warning: Alarm Industry Needs to Draw “Line in the Sand” Now

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) is working to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the policy of municipalities fining alarm companies for false alarms. The most recent city to consider adopting the policy is Sandy Springs, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), which voted in July to begin fining companies on September 1.

“In most cases SIAC is able to move cities away from this type of policy through positive interaction with public safety and community officials,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “In a few instances we have had to engage legal counsel to make the case that these ordinances are unconstitutional.”

For example, such ordinances violate the due process clause of the Constitution because they make alarm companies responsible for the actions of a customer over whom they have no control. It would be the equivalent of fining Ford for a driver caught speeding in an Explorer. There are numerous other issues SIAC attorneys have raised based on the proposed ordinance and state law.

“These detailed letters from our legal counsel citing numerous relevant precedents in federal and state law are a key factor in getting cities to back away from fining alarm companies,” said Martin.

“The bottom line is that when positive interaction and information sharing doesn’t work, we need the resources to hire legal counsel to address specific ordinances,” said Martin. “This is a real threat to our industry — and unless we have the support from the industry to stop these ordinances now it will become a growing problem.

“Having an attorney to engage a city is always the last resort,” said Martin. “Yet, it is critical to prevent allowing a precedent to be set and preserving our right to conduct business on a fair and level playing field.”

Your contribution is needed now. Please visit SIAC to make a donation in support of the effort to protect alarm companies.

More Sandy Springs information:

Contributed by David Margulies

Engineered Protection Systems Earns 2016-17 Police Dispatch Quality Award

 

 Customer Education a Key Focus

In June, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) recognized TMA member Engineered Protection Systems, Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan with its prestigious 2016-17 Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award. The PDQ award is given to the company that promotes best practices working with law enforcement to reduce the number of unnecessary dispatches to alarm customers. The award was presented at the ESX – Public Safety and Networking Luncheon at ESX on June 16 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Stan and Josh at ESX PDQ Dispatch Award by Lasko

SIAC Executive Director Stan Martin, left, and EPS Monitoring Center Operations Manager Josh Sanders following the presentation of the award. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.

“Engineered Protection Systems has consistently shown itself to be extraordinarily conscientious, exacting and effective where it comes to alarm management and dispatches,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “These efforts have garnered EPS Security recognition as a PDQ runner-up on multiple occasions, which is quite an achievement in itself.”

“Winning this award was the result of focus towards dealing with alarm issues for the benefit of our valued customers and the community as a whole,” said Kevin Carlson, EPS Security President. “Reducing unnecessary dispatches is vital to the health of our industry and our ability to serve and protect the community.”

EPS Security strategies for reducing false alarms include two call confirmations, customer education at installation, detailed user guides and specific procedures for problem alarm sites. “When a pervasive false alarm problem is discovered, EPS Security has a number of procedures to make a correction,” Carlson said. “These include a member of the EPS Security Monitoring Center team calling customers, downloaders checking on the programs, service techs coordinating onsite visits to check equipment, or providing a full re-education of the system to the customer along with a possible extension of delay times.”

“The fact they continued to push themselves for additional improvement and further refine their tactics, practices and results to break through as the best alarm dispatch program in the U.S. and Canada is an amazing accomplishment for which EPS Security management and every associate should rightly be extremely proud,” Martin said.

Their meticulous entry crosses every ‘T’ and dots all the ‘I’s in addressing, and sometimes exceeding the PDQ criteria. The company encompasses all that the award stands for in cutting false dispatches, and building relationships with the community and first responders.”

The PDQ Award is given annually by SIAC and the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), and co-sponsored by Honeywell Security, Security Sales & Integration Magazine, and the Installation Quality (IQ) Program.

ABOUT SIAC
SIAC represents one voice for the electronic security industry on alarm management issues – communicating solutions and enhancing relationships with law enforcement.  SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations–Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and the Electronic Security Association (ESA).  For more information, go to www.SIACinc.org, www.siacinc.wordpress.com, or follow us on www.twitter.com/siacinc.

 ABOUT FARA
The False Alarm Reduction Association, established in 1997, is an organization of public safety false alarm reduction professionals and alarm industry representatives, whose main mission is to provide a forum for the exchange of information on successful false alarm reduction programs, to serve as a clearinghouse for agencies seeking to reduce false alarms and to foster an environment of cooperation among law enforcement, the alarm industry and the alarm user.  For more information, visit www.faraonline.org.

 ABOUT Engineered Protection Systems, Inc.
Engineered Protection Systems, Inc. was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955. What began as a modest, local operation with a handful of employees has blossomed into a multi-state company with more than 225 employees and approximately 20,000 customers, three additional Michigan branch offices and thousands of satisfied customers. In 2017, EPS Monitoring Center Operations Manager Josh Sanders was a finalist for TMA’s Monitoring Center Manager of the Year, and Dielle Holmberg was a finalist for Monitoring Center Operator of the Year.

 

 

SIAC: St. Cloud FL Police Reporting 67% Reduction in Dispatches

 

Frisco, Texas (January 26, 2017) – The city of St. Cloud, Florida and its Police Department were presented with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s (SIAC) Director’s Award of Distinction, and the Alarm Association of Florida’s (AAF) Alarm Management Award for its outstanding work in reducing alarm dispatches.

St. Cloud Police Chief Pete Gauntlett was given SIAC’s Award of Distinction for his work on this project, along with the AAF award.

The city reduced its alarm dispatches by 67% in its first 12 months utilizing the model ordinance developed by SIAC and the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA). The awards were given during a recent city council meeting.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s National Law Enforcement Liaison, Glen Mowrey, and AAF representatives worked with the St. Cloud Police Department, city staff and the city attorney’s office on the project.

“Our success in reducing alarm calls allows officers to be more proactive in community policing activities,” said Chief Gauntlett.

Mowrey added, “Utilizing the FPCA Model Ordinance streamlines working with the agency in establishing an alarm management program.”

“In the case of St. Cloud, this positive outcome benefits the police department, the local community and our industry. It demonstrates that well-implemented alarm management practices provide the intended results, fewer dispatches,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “Police are freed to address other calls that may have greater public safety consequences. Customers are happy that they don’t have unnecessary alarm activations. In turn, security companies are in better shape because they can sell improved alarm management practices. The result equals fewer fines to the customer.”

 

 

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(L-R) SIAC’s Glen Mowrey, AAF’s Bob Neely, Sgt. Denise Roberts, Chief Pete Gauntlett, Mayor Rebecca Borders

About SIAC

SIAC represents one voice for the electronic security industry on alarm management issues, communicating solutions and enhancing relationships with law enforcement. SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations – Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and the Electronic Security Association (ESA). For more information, go to www.SIACinc.org , www.siacinc.wordpress.com, or follow us on www.twitter.com/siacinc.

–Contributed by James Roth

Town of Lexington (SC) PD Receives SIAC Award for Reducing Alarm Calls

Lexington, SC (January 26, 2017) – The town of Lexington, SC and its Police Department were presented with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s (SIAC) Director’s Award of Distinction for its outstanding work in reducing alarm dispatches. The town reduced its alarm dispatches by 46% freeing up officers for community policing activities and problem solving projects. The award was presented to the town of Lexington, Chief Terence Green and staff during a recent town council meeting.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition and representatives from the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association’s (SCPCA) Alarm Management Committee worked with the Lexington Police Department staff and the city attorney’s office using SCPCA’s Model Alarm Ordinance in reducing alarm dispatch requests.

“We feel very good about the success of our alarm management program, the results we’ve realized, and look forward to even greater reductions in the future,” said Chief Green. “Our partnership with SIAC and the SCPCA Alarm Management Committee has certainly aided us in reducing our alarm dispatches.”

SIAC’s National Law Enforcement Liaison Glen Mowrey added, “Developing strong partnerships and utilizing the Chiefs Association’s Model Alarm Ordinances adds to the success of an agencies alarm management program.”

“In the case of Lexington, this positive outcome benefits the police department, the local community and our industry. It demonstrates that well-implemented alarm management practices provide the intended results, fewer dispatches,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “Police are freed to address other calls that may have greater public safety consequences. Customers are happy that they don’t have unnecessary alarm activations. In turn, security companies are in better shape because they can sell improved alarm management practices. The result equals fewer fines to the customer.”

 

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(L to R) Patrolman First Class Ryan Whitlock, Mayor Steve MacDougall, Glen Mowrey, Chief Terrence Green, Lt. Matt Timmerman, Major Matt Davis, and Lt. Thomas Stowe.

About SIAC

SIAC represents one voice for the electronic security industry on alarm management issues –communicating solutions and enhancing relationships with law enforcement.  SIAC is comprised of four major North American security associations–Canadian Security Association (CANASA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and the Electronic Security Association (ESA). For more information, go to www.SIACinc.org , www.siacinc.wordpress.com, or follow us on www.twitter.com/siacinc.

–Contributed by James Roth