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SIAC Releases New Model Alarm Ordinance STATs and Case Study

SIAC recently released the latest STATs on its Model Alarm Ordinance. This slide captures the effectiveness of the organization’s efforts working in partnership with law enforcement.

Download the case study.

Learn more about SIAC.

New Study: Communities Find Success with Model Alarm Ordinance

A new study by a professor at the UNC-Charlotte, Criminal Justice & Criminology Department shows that most electronic security systems in the communities studied protect life and property without generating calls for police services. The study examined four communities that had adopted the Model Alarm Ordinance, developed by the industry and leaders in law enforcement to reduce unnecessary calls for service while maintaining police response to alarms.

The four communities included Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia; and Montgomery County, Maryland. These communities represented two large agencies, one smaller suburban agency and one county agency managing more than 570,000 permitted alarm systems.

“A key finding of the study,” said Dr. Joe Kuhns, “is that the vast majority of alarm systems in these four locations were effective at protecting lives and property while generating zero calls for service in a given year, and only a tiny percentage are problematic systems that generated multiple calls for service.”

The annual average percentage of registered alarms that generated zero dispatches was as high as 92% in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 82.6% in Atlanta, 87.5% in Montgomery County and 66.4% in Marietta. These statistics represented an 8 or10-year average, depending on how long the ordinance had been in effect.

“It is also noteworthy that the percentage of zero dispatches tends to increase over time,” said Kuhns. “As jurisdictions get better at administration, and the public becomes more familiar with the ordinance, results consistently improved over time in these four settings.”

The proportion of problematic systems, which generate three or more dispatches in a year, was only .09% in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 3.5% in Atlanta, 1.08% in Montgomery County and 8.7% in Marietta.

The Model Alarm Ordinance was created in collaboration with leaders in public safety through organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association,” said Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) which funded the study. “Public safety leaders recognize the important role electronic security plays in their communities and the importance of police response as a deterrent to crime.

“The Model Alarm Ordinance directly addresses the issue that the vast majority of false alarms are caused by user error,” said Martin. “The study demonstrates that the strategy of focusing on the chronic abusers and fining owners who are careless in operating their electronic security systems is the most effective way of minimizing calls for service.

“The Model Alarm Ordinance is a framework that communities can modify to best fit their local needs,” said Martin. “SIAC provides consultation at no cost to law enforcement agencies considering or modifying alarm ordinances.”

“The model alarm ordinance calls for increasing fines or even curtailing response to the very small percentage of systems that place inordinate demands on public safety agencies,” said Kuhns. “In addition, it mandates multiple contacts with the alarm site prior to contacting public safety agencies.”

“False alarms did not consume a lot of law enforcement resources in the four agencies we studied,” said Kuhns. “If we can replicate what they are doing across the nation’s 18,000+ law enforcement agencies, we are going to wind up saving a whole lot of money and time which can be devoted to other public safety priorities.”

Joe Kuhns, Ph.D., Professor, UNC-Charlotte, Criminal Justice & Criminology

Dr. Joe Kuhns teaches courses in policing, community policing, drugs and crime, and research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to arriving at UNCC in 2003, Dr. Kuhns served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services).

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), The Monitoring Association (TMA), 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.

Leading Law Enforcement Associations Back Model Alarm Ordinance

Best Practices Developed by Industry and Law Enforcement

Two of the nation’s leading public safety associations have passed resolutions in support of members utilizing the Model Ordinance for Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction developed in partnership between law enforcement and the electronic security industry through the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) approved a resolution at its 2018 Annual Conference “encouraging the use of this 2018 Model Ordinance…and all of the best practices.”

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) also passed a resolution “recognizes the need for and value of strong enforcement recommended in this Model Ordinance to achieve the desired reduction in alarm dispatches experienced by police agencies…”

The recently updated model ordinance has been the result of close collaboration between SIAC and law enforcement for the past 20 years. While the ordinance has been endorsed at the committee level, this is the first time that both IACP and NSA have endorsed the ordinance on a national level.

“By working together we have been able to significantly reduce unnecessary police dispatches while at the same time maintaining the police response to alarms,” said Stan Martin, Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. “Alarm systems reduce crime and protect homes, businesses, places of worship and schools. We want to make sure criminals know police are responding. It is an important component to protecting people and property and reducing crime.

“Every best practice in the model ordinance has been tried and tested for effectiveness in reducing false alarms and the resulting dispatches,” said Martin. “In addition to IACP and NSA fifteen State Chiefs of Police organizations across the U.S. use some form of this model and recommend its use to chiefs within their respective states. When all recommendations within the model are followed and strictly enforced dispatch reductions of 40-50% can be expected with 85% of the permitted systems in any given year not requiring even one law enforcement dispatch.”

Every year dozens of the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies consider creating or amending an alarm ordinance. SIAC is funded by the alarm industry and has a team of experts, including retired chiefs, to assist local communities in developing and implementing the model ordinance to meet their needs. “SIAC needs support from the alarm industry to continue this important mission,” said Martin.

Support SIAC with a contribution today.

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SIAC Executive Director Stan Martin with Charles Brobeck, Retired Police Chief, Irvine (CA); SIAC Liaison

 

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Glen Mowrey, SIAC Law Enforcement Liaison (L) and Bill Berger, U.S. Marshall, Central District of Florida; Retired Police Chief, Palm Bay (FL); Past President, IACP.

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Photos from the Alarm Industry Associations’ Reception at the IACP Annual Meeting in October 2018.

 

Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, IL Wins PDQ for Second Time

 TMA member Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, IL has won the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award for the second time. They were honored at ESX in Nashville, TN last month.
Electronic Sercurity Expo1_1806

Pictured, left to right: Keith Baird of Honeywell; Ed Bonifas, Melissa Hodgetts and Ed Lubic of ADS; SSI Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher Scott Goldfine. Photo by Matthew Lynn Photography.

The Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award program targets the alarm management issue by recognizing those installing and monitoring companies that follow established industry practices and partner with law enforcement to achieve the highest quality in minimizing police dispatch requests. It was established jointly in 2005 by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION, and now also officially endorsed by the Installation Quality (IQ) program and sponsored by Honeywell.

ADS has been a leader in dispatch reduction efforts for over two decades. They were one of the very first companies to appoint a staff position to review the previous day’s dispatches, call customers, determine corrective actions required and apply the necessary resources to resolve the issue.

The goal of the PDQ program is to raise industry-wide awareness, motivate alarm companies to be proactive and provide models that work for others to follow. TMA thanks and congratulates Alarm Detection Systems of Aurora, IL!

TMA Joins SIAC in Recognizing Ron Walters for Industry Contributions

Walters’ Leadership on Alarm Issues Spans Decades

2014 CAA San Francisco Convention - Public SafetyRonald “Ron” Walters has retired as director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) after a stellar career that included work in law enforcement, corporate security, an alarm company owner and director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition.

“Ron’s leadership role in our industry helped lay the foundation for creating SIAC. He would fly to a city on a moment’s notice and meet with adversarial city council members to convey our factual information,” said Stan Martin, SIAC executive director. “He was very effective and everyone in our industry has benefited from his groundbreaking work with dealer education and standards development related to alarm management.”

Walters gained prominence through his work on a number of industry issues. Among them was his role in the Model States Program in 1997. Walters was selected to coordinate data collection in the state of Florida, working with more than 30 police departments to study the causes and potential solutions of false alarm dispatches. The results were combined with information from three additional states ending with the publication and distribution of the Model States Report in 1998, a document that still influences the industry today. He also contributed to the Coordinated Alarm Reduction Effort (CARE) led by the NBFAA and IACP from 1999-2003.

In 2004, Walters received the prestigious William N. Moody award that acknowledges individuals “who unselfishly give of their time and talents to alarm management issues and who reflect the attributes of Bill Moody which include integrity, fairness and perseverance in the face of adversity.” Very unique qualities in honor of a very special person indeed.

“It has been a real privilege to work with my colleagues at SIAC as well as leaders in law enforcement and elected officials throughout the country,” said Walters. “Our industry would be in a much different place today if we had not come together with law enforcement to develop real solutions to the false alarm issues while maintaining police response to alarms.

“I think we all know that the fight isn’t over and that there are still individuals who unfairly attack our industry and try to undermine its ability to protect citizens and property,” he said. “We must continue to be vigilant and support SIAC’s efforts, or we will continue to face misguided legislation that can have a severe impact in our industry.”

“It has been a real privilege to work with Ron,” said Martin. “I know his family will enjoy spending more time with him, and Ron can enjoy some downtime from a long and successful career.”

“When I walked into the Miami Police Academy in 1968 I never dreamed I would spend the next 50 years working every day to keep people safe,” said Walters. “Here I am at the end of two decades of working for our industry and for alarm users everywhere. In that capacity I have traveled well over a million miles, visited virtually every state, made hundreds of presentations and most important met thousands of some of the best people in the world. Thank you all for the many great memories.”

“On behalf of the members of The Monitoring Association, I thank Ron for his time as a law enforcement enforcement officer that carried over to his SIAC career, where he continued to promote public safety in his tireless efforts to maintain the effectiveness of alarm systems,” said TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn.

Source: SIAC, April 30, 2018

 

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.

Tim_Creenan

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.