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Sandy Springs Stiffens Compliance Penalty Against Alarm Companies

Should an alarm company run afoul of the city’s controversial ordinance, its permit will remain suspended for three months after it comes into full compliance.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The Sandy Springs City Council has updated its contentious false alarm ordinance by stiffening one of the penalties against alarm companies that do not comply with the law.

Effective May 1, if an alarm company does not provide written notice alerting its customers that the city has suspended its permit for noncompliance — and police will not respond to an activated intrusion alarm — the company’s permit will remain suspended for three months after it comes into full compliance.

Under a law passed unanimously last year, Sandy Springs fines alarm companies for false alarms reported to the city. In April, the city told 39 companies that had failed to pay the fines that it would no longer respond to their intrusion alarms; it still would respond to fire alarms, duress calls, panic buttons and direct calls to 911. Almost all of the listed companies eventually paid the fines.

The city also defines businesses that monitor alarm systems, but do not install alarm equipment, as alarm companies and therefore must register its customers in accordance to the  ordinance.

The underlying goal of the ordinance, according to city officials, is to slash nearly 12,000 false alarms each year by forcing companies to adopt modern alarm-system technologies, such as audio or video verification, or hire security guards to verify alarm events.

The Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association (GELSSA) and two alarm companies, A-Com and Safecom, with the assistance of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), challenged the ordinance in U.S. District Court. Shortly after, Sandy Springs suspended response for alarm companies that had not paid fines levied under the ordinance.

SIAC contends Sandy Springs officials have “declared war on the alarm industry and the customers it serves” after the industry challenged a new city ordinance that fined alarm companies instead of customers for false alarms.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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