ASAP® Network Widens with Addition of CMS

Implementation of the “Automated Secure Alarm Protocol” is Building Nationwide

ASAP-Concept1DCriticom Monitoring Services (CMS), one of the largest wholesale alarm monitoring companies in the United States, went live with ASAP® in the city of Richmond, VA on October 21. “Awareness of ASAP’s very real benefits to PSAPs is spreading,” said Jay Hauhn, executive director of CSAA. “The program gathers momentum with each prestigious national monitoring company that comes on board. Having CMS go live is a big step in the process of implementing this service around the nation.”

“CMS is now live with its ASAP-to-PSAP adoption,” commented Tony Wilson, President, CMS. “Our hope is that the ASAP program will increase the speed and accuracy of our dispatches.” CMS serves more than 3,500 alarm companies and their 800,000 customers. Their broad range of monitoring services includes response to security, fire, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), environmental and interactive services such as two-way voice and remote video.

“It took about a year to launch the ASAP program,” continued Wilson. “We did this intentionally so that we could minimize the impact to our dealers. ASAP-to-PSAP is currently implemented for our 21 dealers located in the city of Richmond, VA; this affects approximately 500 subscriber accounts. Our Richmond contact, Bill Hobgood, was an excellent resource and helped to make this project easier. Our operators are excited for this new technology to communicate dispatches electronically and can’t wait for more and more PSAPs to follow suit. Over the next few weeks we will begin working on expanding our ASAP implementation to include our dealers located in Henrico County, VA and Washington, DC.”

Read the complete announcement at CSAA News.

Richmond, VA’s Bill Hobgood is Recipient of Inaugural CSAA Public Sector Award

Public Safety Project Manager Recognized for Tireless Work on Behalf of the ASAP® Program

Bill Hobgood, Project Manager, Public Safety Team in the Department of Information Technology for the City of Richmond, Virginia, is the recipient of CSAA’s inaugural Public Sector Award. This special honor is given by CSAA in recognition of a public sector individual’s contribution to the alarm industry.

“Over the past several years, Bill has worked tirelessly to promote and implement ASAP®, a program that increases the efficiency and reliability of emergency electronic signals from central station alarm companies to Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs),” said CSAA President Pamela J. Petrow. “Bill is the ideal recipient of this inaugural award–he has been an indefatigable advocate for the ASAP program, which benefits both the private and public sector.”

Bill Hobgood

Bill Hobgood

“I am deeply honored to receive CSAA’s Inaugural Public Sector Award,” said Hobgood. “Having personally developed the first ASAP to Computer-Aided Dispatch interface for York County, VA and the City of Richmond, VA that was launched in 2006 as a two-and-a-half year pilot, I realized from day one that the ASAP program would become the win-win that it has for public safety and the alarm industry with the primary beneficiary being the community that we serve. The ASAP program has a proven track record of successes across the United States made possible due to faster responses by public safety responders.”

Hobgood was nominated for the award by Vector Security and by CSAA Past President Louis T. Fiore. “This award is so well-deserved!” said Fiore. “Bill has done a great deal for CSAA, ASAP and the industry as a whole, and I congratulate him on this recognition.”

ASAP was launched in 2011 as an initiative by the alarm industry in a cooperative effort between the Association of Public Communications Officials (APCO) and CSAA. With ASAP, critical life safety signals and accurate information is processed in seconds, not minutes, through the Nlets system of state-to-state PSAP communication, insuring that critical time is not lost, and that complete and accurate information is transmitted to the PSAP every time. The ASAP program also helps reduce false alarms, and may save the PSAPs and emergency services potentially millions of dollars.

“ASAP is a critical initiative that will improve public safety,” said Petrow, “and it is being implemented all around the country thanks to Bill.”

Hobgood will be presented with the award at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) Public Sector luncheon on Wednesday, June 24, at the Baltimore Convention Center. For more information, contact Elizabeth Lasko at CSAA, 703-242-4670 or

ASAP® Program: No If’s, And’s or Butts

By Ron Walters

This post is a guest editorial that appeared in the March 2015 issue of Northeast/Midwest Sentinel. (View the article online.) Posted with permission of the publisher and author.

It wasn’t a headline or feature story butt it caught my eye. In spite of the perception that the alarm industry is the biggest issue for law enforcement, perhaps we aren’t. After all, the alarm industry’s relationship with Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPS) in our joint attempt to reduce dispatches is well documented.

As reported by Businessweek, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly just announced that our nation’s PSAPS are experiencing 84 million false 9-1-1 calls annually, with 70% coming from cellular phones. To make matters worse, half of these were inadvertent “butt calls”. These calls have become so prevalent because our elected representatives decided that whether a phone was locked or not, it should be 9-1-1 capable. On the surface an honorable mission, but as Sir Isaac Newton said so many years ago, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

For the last two years our industry has supported the Association of Police Communication Officers (APCO) in fighting the FCC and this same FCC Commissioner from requiring every device that connects to the Internet to be 9-1-1 capable. Really? Can you imagine the impact of every game console being connected to 9-1-1? Heck, you can’t even call a game console back.

If we truly have a common mission with law enforcement then we need to actively support them. That’s what this article is really about.

ASAP-Concept1DThe largest joint project in the history of our relationship is without question the up and coming ASAP to PSAP project. The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to the Public Sector Answering Point(s) is a direct link between the PSAP and our central stations. Over the last 25 years there have been several attempts to launch similar programs; however, the biggest hurdle was always having direct communications with law enforcements Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software. For security, no outside source was allowed to directly interface with these CAD programs. Also, if there was ever going to be any such connection it would require that all CAD vendors and all monitoring automation vendors come together to develop compatible software.

So what exactly is the point of ASAP to PSAP?

First and foremost is the “hands off” functionality. This means we can dispatch to the PSAP, and they can receive it, without any human interaction. Also, the dispatch can be canceled in the same fashion. In fact in some communities the alarm dispatch could potentially end up on a computer screen in a patrol car without ever having been read at the PSAP.

On the industry side the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) has not only spearheaded this effort, their members have helped finance it. Influential industry leaders such as Pam Petrow of Vector Security, Ed Bonifas of EDS and Bill Hobgood from the City of Richmond, Virginia have taken the leadership position in ASAP to PSAP and their efforts should be applauded.

ASAP to PSAP is the perfect example of how we work with law enforcement. It is truly a joint effort and promises to have a huge impact on reducing false dispatches. If you are on the monitoring side of our industry you need to contact the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) at

ASAP to PSAP is a monumental step in our relationship with law enforcement. No If’s, And’s or Butt’s about it, whether you are on the installation or monitoring side of the industry, you should follow the link to learn more about this vital program that promises to alter the landscape of police dispatches to alarms.

Ron Walters is a Director of SIAC and is a 35 year veteran of the alarm industry. He can be reached at