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

TMA Will Spotlight ASAP at APCO Conference in Denver

ASAP-Concept1DThe Monitoring Association (TMA), the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and Nlets are bringing the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) to municipalities around the country. PSAPs and alarm companies throughout the U.S. are seeing the value of ASAP’s winning formula for error reduction, cost containment and faster responses to dispatch.

At the upcoming APCO conference in Denver, PSAP representatives will have two opportunities to learn about ASAP:

  • TMA staff will be at Booth 527 in the exhibit hall sharing how the technology works and how the service is implemented.
  • A special session ” The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP to the PSAP): A Win-Win for Public Safety and the Alarm Industry” (Sunday, August 13 at 1:30 PM in Convention Center 503/504) features subject matter expert Bill Hobgood, TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn, and representatives from PSAPs in New York, Arizona and Washington, DC. Participants will see how the program reduces 9-1-1 processing and response times to alarm events while eliminating telephone calls, miscommunication errors, between alarm monitoring companies and 9-1-1 PSAPs.

PSAP representatives, don’t miss your chance to get informed about ASAP at the APCO conference in August! For advance information, visit www.tma.us/asap.


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.

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.

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.



5 Questions for alliantgroup’s Dhaval Jadav

Meet Dhaval Jadav, CEO of new TMA member alliantgroup.

  1. What is your company’s mission and how does it intersect with the alarm industry? Dhaval Jadav

alliantgroup’s mission is simple—it is to strengthen U.S. businesses and to ensure that technical jobs remain here in the United States and are not outsourced. We do this by educating U.S. businesses on the various federal and state tax incentives that our government has put in place specifically for U.S. businesses to make them more competitive in the global marketplace.

As a premier tax consultancy, we help businesses from a range of industries claim the full value they are entitled to through these credit and incentive programs. The alarm industry happens to be one of the many industries that we serve as the everyday activities of these companies and TMA members traditionally make them excellent candidates for the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. The R&D Tax Credit is specifically designed to incentivize and reward companies for the technical enhancements they make to their products, processes or services—the latter two being exactly how TMA members and other alarm and monitoring companies spend the majority of their days.

The technical steps that are taken to perfect an alarm or a security system, the design and development work that is done to integrate multiple systems or to ensure these systems communicate with one another—these are the sort of things the R&D Tax Credit is designed to incentivize and reward. By claiming the R&D Tax Credit, we have seen countless businesses generate the spending capital that is needed to invest in future R&D initiatives and hire more technical employees.

  1. Share a personal experience you’ve had with alarm monitoring or public safety.

Our firm has had the opportunity to work with several companies in this space, and what has always stood out to me was the truly dynamic and innovative nature of their services. From the design and programming of complex control systems to harnessing the full capabilities of the cloud and the Internet of Things, these companies are truly on the forefront of innovation and represent the current direction of American enterprise.

It’s an honor to be able to work with such a cutting-edge industry, and I look forward to all that we can accomplish for TMA members.

  1. What are your goals for your membership in TMA?

There are numerous studies out now on our nation’s STEM-labor shortage and the growing “Engineering Gap” between the U.S. and countries such as China and India. There is no doubt that the lack of domestic technical talent has been detrimental to our economy and for the job prospects for many Americans, with many companies feeling forced to outsource technical jobs overseas given the current labor market.

This gets to the heart of why alliantgroup is joining TMA. By joining TMA, we are expanding our footprint in a very technical industry and we hope that we can help your members claim the dollars they need to hire more American workers, thereby keeping these lucrative jobs on U.S. shores. It is my goal that every TMA member claims the full value they are entitled to under the tax code because not only is this a win for their businesses, it’s a huge win for American workers and the economy at large.

  1. What makes your company special?

Our people. A company is only as good as its people, and our professionals are 100 percent committed to the firm’s mission and to 24/7 client service. Our mission is to make sure that each and every client we engage from TMA becomes a Raving Fan of alliantgroup and a client for life.

alliantgroup would not be where it is today without the passion and investment of our employees. Their drive to be the best and the culture of accountability that we have established—those are the things I am most proud of since inception.

  1. Tell us something about yourself that drives the way you do business. 

I am a big sports fan and something that I have learned over the years is that many of the traits that drive a successful team are the same as those that drive a successful business. Competition, teamwork and complete investment to achieve a common goal are the main ingredients to any winning team, and the same goes for the business world. Friendly competition between employees drives everyone to be their best and creates a culture of accountability. In the same vein, I find that learning to collaborate and work as a team brings out fresh new perspectives and fosters community within a company. This in turn leads to greater employee engagement as individuals become more invested in their ideas and in seeing one another succeed.

As I see it, the key to a successful company is to empower people, to get people to buy in and feel passionate about a common objective. In our case, that mission is all about strengthening American businesses and doing our part to help keep some of the best and lucrative jobs here in the United States.

Virginia to Transform Communications for Public Safety; Governor Approves Buildout Plan for First Responder Network

First-of-its-Kind Solution Will Create Jobs, Spur Investment and Modernize Public Safety Communications across the Commonwealth

FirstnetOn July 11, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a letter accepting the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the Commonwealth’s public safety community. This will make Virginia the first state in the country to “opt-in” to FirstNet and bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.

“I am proud that Virginia is the first state in the nation to opt in to this program that will help our first responders communicate during times of emergency,” said McAuliffe. “While this is only the beginning of the process, I look forward to the continued coordinated efforts among Virginia, FirstNet, and AT&T to provide public safety officials with innovative new technologies that will help them keep Virginians safe.”

FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Virginia’s public safety community at no cost to the state for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will deliver innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders. TMA’s Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) is currently working with its members to identify issues and questions concerning the alarm industry’s participation in the network, in order to make AT&T aware of its position on these matters.

This is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions Governor McAuliffe will make for the Commonwealth’s first responders and the residents they serve. The network will transform the way Virginia’s fire, police, EMS, emergency management and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:

  • Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies like the recent shooting in Alexandria or the 2014 Air National Guard F-15C fighter jet crash in Augusta County, and supporting large events, such as the Richmond Jazz Festival.
  • Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew, the Derecho storm of June 2012 or the 2011 earthquake with its epicenter in Louisa County.
  • Enhance network coverage in rural areas. This will benefit first responders and residents in areas such as Southwest Virginia, Southside Virginia, the Eastern Shore and more.
  • Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
  • Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies. It also carries the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.

“I am extremely pleased that Virginia is choosing to opt in to the network,” said Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Access to the network will provide us with additional tools to help ensure we can do our job when the time comes.”

The FirstNet solution that will be built in Virginia was designed with direct input from the Commonwealth’s public safety community. Since 2013, FirstNet has met with Virginia officials and public safety personnel more than 90 times to address their unique communication needs. This includes understanding the importance of maritime coverage and increasing coverage in rural areas of the Commonwealth as well as coordination with military and federal government users.

“Public safety has spent years advocating for a nationwide network following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and today, Governor McAuliffe is helping to answer that call by joining the FirstNet network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “FirstNet will put modern technologies that citizens use every day – like smartphones and apps – into the hands of Virginia’s first responders, helping them help save lives and protect residents while creating a single, interoperable system across the Commonwealth and across the country.”

The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications.

Specifically, Virginia’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network. Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.

“Governor McAuliffe is taking the first steps necessary to make public safety’s long-awaited vision a reality. Through his leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia will serve as an important building block for the nationwide public safety broadband network,” said Chris Sambar, SVP, AT&T – FirstNet. “We take our responsibility to deliver this first-of-its-kind solution seriously. And we’re honored to bring the FirstNet Network to Virginia and connect its public safety community to the life-saving technologies they deserve.”

A video of the ceremonial letter signing is posted on on FirstNet.gov.

For more information on the the value FirstNet will bring to public safety,  visit FirstNet.com.

About FirstNet
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.


Why Monitoring Center Personnel Should Attend TMA’s “Fall Ops”

By Chris Newhook, Central Station Manager, American Alarm

The Monitoring Association (TMA, formerly CSAA) is my number one resource – my one-stop shop — for industry feedback, as well as educational and operational best practices. As if this wasn’t enough, it also serves as the backbone of my peer network.

While its strength lies with its members, it is TMA’s sustained commitment to actively listen to that membership, gather the insight and effectively channel this wealth of knowledge into a platform for industry growth and development that serves as the organization’s greatest triumph.

For me, the culmination of its collective efforts manifests itself each year with the TMA Fall Operations Management Seminar.


Chris Newhook (pictured second from right with trophy) was TMA’s 2014 Monitoring Center Manager of the Year.

The 2016 “Fall Ops”, with its theme Monitoring Excellence, was no exception!

TMA focused its usual world-class coordinative talents last year, directing a stellar line-up of speakers and timely topics ranging from ASAP-to-PSAP, PERS monitoring, UL Standards updates, and a real show-stopper on cybersecurity. The event was thoughtfully balanced with a selection of dynamic round-table exchanges and lively break-out group discussions.

The TMA Fall Operations Management Seminar is my annual reload – a getaway to assess my current objectives, develop my goals and rethink my direction; all in the company of the industry’s best talent.

TMA Fall Ops Tag 2017Register now for the 2017 Fall Operations Management Seminar, featuring tours of UL Headquarters and Walgreens Security Operations Center, November 5-7 in Rosemont, IL. Visit https://tma.us/2017-fall-ops/ .

ASAP Goes Live in Manatee County, FL

MASAP-Concept1Danatee County 9-1-1 recently became the 25th agency in the United States and second in Florida to adopt ASAP, the service that will save emergency responders precious moments when home alarms sound.

The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) allows outside alarm monitoring companies such as Brinks and Vector to send information directly to call takers in the 9-1-1 Call Center, shaving up to three minutes from call processing time. Homes alarms for fires, medical emergencies, burglaries and more will now result in an emergency dispatch more quickly with fewer chances for errors, according to Manatee County Public Safety Director Robert Smith.

“Every second matters in an emergency, so it’s incredibly helpful when a new piece of technology can save on time,” Smith said. “I’m proud of our Emergency Communications team for keeping us moving forward to continually enhance our level of service.”

Half of all Manatee County property owners with emergency monitoring systems — an estimated 75,000 homes and businesses — will benefit from the new technology according to Manatee County Emergency Communications Chief Jake Saur. That number will grow to 75 percent of Manatee County homes and businesses with an alarm system when ADT Alarm Monitoring joins the new protocol.

Watch video of Manatee County’s Jake Saur discussing the benefits of ASAP.

“This new technology eliminates the need for alarm companies to physically dial into the Emergency Communications Center to relay alarm information,” Saur says. “They’ll now electronically send alarm info to the ECC, reducing call processing times and communication errors. We’ll also improve efficiency in dispatching first responders to the alarm.”

Not all Manatee County alarm monitoring companies are part of the new program but as the technology grows, Saur expects more monitoring stations to participate.

ASAP is a computer-aided dispatch system for processing information from alarm monitoring stations that require an emergency dispatch. It was designed by The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO Int’l). For more information, visit www.tma.us/asap.

Media coverage: 

Fox 13: New system helps alarm companies communicate with 911

Bradenton Herald: Changes at Manatee County 911 will save minutes in emergencies, officials say

News 10: Technology speeds up alarm calls to 911 by 2-3 minutes in Manatee Co.

ABC 7: Faster response times to some Manatee County home alarms