Norma Beaubien

SSI Hall Of Fame: 2007

Current Status
President of False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and Director of Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Police False Alarm Reduction Section

Why She’s on the List

  • Spent more than 20 years dedicated to creating forums and easing tensions between law enforcement agencies and the alarm industry regarding false alarms
  • Co-founder and long-time president of FARA, an organization for facilitating optimal communications among law enforcement, alarm companies and end users to stem false alarms
  • Turned FARA into clearinghouse for false alarm manuals, guides, prevention bulletins, brochures, model ordinances and white papers for public safety and the alarm industry
  • In law enforcement capacity, manages program that has reduced false alarm dispatches by almost 62 percent as alarm user base grew 115 percent; her initiatives have saved the department more than $12.5 million in resources since 1995
  • In 2005, helped found, launch and administrate the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award program, which honors alarm companies for false alarm reduction efforts

Most Memorable Moment
“In FARA’s early days, as an exhibitor at IACP’s annual convention in Charlotte, we had to stay at an unaffiliated hotel. When we arrived, our vice president picked up her room phone only to send numerous cockroaches scurrying for cover. The rest of us went to the hotel restaurant, which turned out to be a sleazy biker bar. We then noticed the lobby featured an automated condom machine. We tried without luck to find another hotel. So, persevere we did!

“I left my room the next morning and was greeted by a man sitting in the hallway in his underwear smoking a cigarette. Later, while waiting in the lobby for the free shuttle to the convention center, an old man with one eye and a very hunched back came in and announced he was our driver. This trip was a never-ending display of ‘Oh, my God!’ moments.”

How Things Have Changed
“I believe both law enforcement and the electronic security industry are more willing to engage in discussions, entertain the other’s viewpoint and gain a better understanding of each other’s positions on alarm management techniques.

“Law enforcement has been forced to do more with less due to the 9/11 attacks. The Columbine High School massacre required us to look at how we deal with school violence. Meanwhile populations grow but most budgets remain constant or decrease. These trends place pressure on law enforcement.

“The electronic security industry has blossomed the past 10 years due to advancements in technology. Alarm companies can now offer more than a basic alarm system. These advancements have opened doors, and many are taking advantage of that.”

What the Future Holds
“It is my hope law enforcement and the industry will continue to develop strong working relationships that will have a positive impact on alarm management issues. As long as the industry continues to view false alarms as a plague and takes substantive and proactive measures to address them, law enforcement will continue, for the most part, to work cooperatively with it.”

Something People Might Not Know
“I race in demolition derbies. There is nothing else in this world like the feeling you get when you can legally drive ‘hell bent for leather’ ramming your 2,000-pound vehicle into someone else’s! Engines racing, the sounds made at impact, the smell of burning oil, the cheering crowds — it is a rush like no other.”

Reaction to Being Inducted
“I am truly humbled to be the first public safety professional inducted into the SSI Hall of Fame. It is very rewarding to be respected and honored by an industry I ultimately regulate, and shows I am capable of building bridges and fostering an environment where both sides feel comfortable exchanging ideas.”

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