SIAC: Promoting Best Practices in Alarm Management Every Day

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition plays an important part in protecting the industry from harmful ordinances. Here’s how.

In 1978, the federal government deregulated the airline industry. It was a one-time decision with painful consequences, but once the battle was fought the industry adjusted to the change.

Regulation of the electronic security industry is a different story. Our industry is regulated at the state and local levels with 18,000 different public safety agencies that, through local governments, create their own ordinances, rules and regulations. Ordinances that are harmful to our industry, the people and property we protect, can become law if not closely monitored.

The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) has been the industry’s answer to successfully dealing with this complex and ever-changing environment. First, SIAC’s team tracks publicly available information on plans for communities to change or enact an alarm ordinance. This early warning system allows SIAC professionals to contact local authorities to offer research, expertise and draft a model ordinance.

SIAC experts are available to speak with law enforcement and civic leaders to show the proven success of the model ordinance developed by SIAC and leaders in law enforcement.

SIAC also provides a website that keeps track of current ordinances from around the country. This quick reference site also provides definitions and explanations of the various terms utilized when discussing alarm management issues.

State alarm associations and local dealers also play a key role in identifying situations where a community is dealing with alarm issues. Their local contacts and civic involvement help industry representatives get in front of decision makers with SIAC’s fact-based research and proven track record of helping significantly reduce false alarms.

SIAC has also positioned itself as a valued resource for law enforcement when they are considering alarm issues. SIAC’s team of professionals includes former members of law enforcement with decades of experience. SIAC is active in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) as well as numerous state law enforcement organizations. The goal is to be top of mind when local agencies begin discussing electronic security issues at the local level.

Under the most common scenario, local law enforcement leaders turn to SIAC and its experts to help identify local issues with alarm management and discuss how a customized version of the model ordinance can help dramatically reduce calls for service while maintaining the police response citizens expect.

Elected officials are then presented with a well thought-out strategy backed by research and success stories from other similar communities. This is why only a handful of communities nationwide have adopted punitive ordinances such as verified response.

SIAC and local alarm companies also face situations in which a local official becomes sold on the misconception that the alarm industry needs to be punished for wasting police resources and tax dollars. The playbook for this type of advocate is to try to convince elected officials of this position long before anyone from the industry is aware of their efforts.

We have seen instances where city officials purposely kept the industry in the dark so they could sell their anti-industry story without contradiction.

These cases require much more effort to overcome the misconceptions, alert the public and try to have a constructive conversation about alarm policies. In these instances, SIAC teams with local and state alarm organizations to reach out to the public, elected officials and members of law enforcement to promote the model ordinance solution.

Media relations is a key component of this effort. When fully informed about the issue, many journalists recognize that policies such as verified response make little sense when there are better proven options for dealing with alarm issues.

Educating the media and providing background information as well as opinion pieces for the editorial page is an important strategy in dealing with the issue. Social media campaigns also help bring the issue to the attention of voters who may not be aware of the behind the scenes efforts to impose programs such as verified response.

In the worst-case scenarios, SIAC also coordinates with state and local alarm organizations to combat problem ordinances, such as those that fine alarm companies for false alarms at the courthouse. The ongoing challenge for our industry is the constant turnover among elected officials and local law enforcement leaders.

In addition, there is still a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information available online concerning alarm management and the electronic security industry. Countering that misinformation early in the discussion is a key to avoiding creation of problem ordinances.

It is vital that SIAC, working with state alarm associations, continues to closely monitor government regulators as well as work with law enforcement and public officials to address legitimate concerns about our industry.

Stan Martin is an SSI Industry Hall of Famer and Executive Director for SIAC.

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4 Responses to “SIAC: Promoting Best Practices in Alarm Management Every Day”

  1. Lee Jones says:

    “SIAC Quells Barbarians at the Alarm Industry Gate” by Stan Martin

    Ever wonder why the “false alarm problem”, now known as “unnecessary police response”, has continued for over 50 years, and still not solved? Even after all the solutions, including the “Model Ordinance” as written and proposed by alarm associations? Maybe because much of alarm industry leadership does NOT want to stop false alarms? On-demand police response to millions of deterrent alarm systems, when requested by remote monitoring firms, is the key component to traditional business models and RMR market value. When alarm site-response goes away, RMR market values can plummet. Investors and lenders are now asking about police response to their acquired contracts. Law enforcement has a solution that can preserve RMR marked values, but resisted by self- serving alarm associations.
    Source: Lee Jones; Support Services Group

  2. Scott Simmons says:

    Mr. Jones,
    Your comment seems to be contradictory. It doesn’t make sense that the industry would not want to stop false alarms since, as you put it, non-response would put at-risk the RMR business model on which much of the industry is based. Two-step verification has greatly improved the response to “false” alarms, however there are still many reasons why an alarm may be considered “false”, even when there is an actual cause. Video and/or audio verification is gaining acceptance with both police and consumers as not only a welcome addition to a more secure system, but as verification to determine the cause of alarms and their validity. We must take the role of security provider seriously, and provide the best, most secure solutions, and not just the least expensive way to get a monitoring contract.

  3. The True Heroes Responding to Your False Alarms are NOT BARBARIANS!!!! says:

    Mr. Martin, your article is outrageous. Yes, how dare local government have a say in what should happen in their jurisdiction. Running officers to these types of calls is fine and dandy as long as you and the ALARM INDUSTRY makes their bottom line, right? Instead of scapegoating others about your nonsense, why don’t you ask yourself the pertinent questions. If you can’t think of them, I’ve listed them below for you.

    Is local government the ones generating billions of dollars in sales annually? Do you wear a uniform, badge and gun to work? Do you spend thousands of WASTED hours responding to useless calls for service?

    If you feel so strongly about protecting people’s homes with the cheap systems that you all are putting in these days, then I suggest that you go out and start offering your very own security company that responds to this garbage. Oh wait, there are already many jurisdictions that mandate this because the police are actually supposed to be handling real police matters and not this nonsense! Keep pushing back on public safety, to include calling them barbarians. When tax payers see the bottom line, the exact amount of resources that have been and continue to be wasted, they don’t like it very much! That’s the real truth. Oh and one more thing, it’s NOT SUSTAINABLE!!! Look around the country Mr. Martin, attrition of police officers is declining. More agencies are doing way more with way less.

    Mr. Martin, try telling the truth for once, maybe it will set you free! Stop complaining and come up with a better solution than the propaganda you just published.

  4. steve sopkin says:

    Dear Security Sales editor and staff,
    Your article SIAC Quells Barbarians at the Alarm Industry Gate published online October 31st just punched our best ally in the face. I hope you realize that all the good work our industry has done is about to be blown out the door due to someone on your staff picking a new hurtful headline over the writer’s wishes. I received the nastiest email from a really terrific police department interface over the headline that basically screams a big FU to every police department in the nation. I mean really guys…. C’mon. you’re better than that. This lady as well as every single police department that subscribes to your newsletter deserves a handwritten apology for the name calling that you did in the article. We work with the local police departments every day. Many of them work tirelessly on our behalf and the thought that the entire alarm industry calls them Barbarians is just trash, fake news and demeaning of everyone involved.

    See below for Kerri McDonald’s email string from the Riverside Police Department. She is also on the board of FARA which stands for the False Alarm Reduction Association they do on their own time involving many other police departments. . As the editor, I would hope you’d make a simple phone call and apologize to her and anyone else she suggests that is inflamed by the inexcusable way in which you are trying to create a fire just so more people will read the article. In fact, why don’t you do another article on the good work Kerri and her staff do at FARA helping the alarm industry every single day? And include a written apology at the same time!

    Why am I doing damage control for your error you ask? It’s because I’m involved on a local level, helping PD’s and their staff with long term decisions on how best to interface with the alarm industry and one small dumb error such as this can set us back decades.

    Yours for better security,
    Steve Sopkin
    Mijac Alarm

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