Jurors field questions from CSAA members after rendering a guilty verdict

Members of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) convened at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, situated high on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Southern California coastline, for the association’s annual meeting—subtitled “The Maturing of the Central Station Industry in the New Millennium.” About 200 attendees split time between meetings, seminars, banquets and recreation.

Some of the event’s highlights included “Guerilla Marketing” guru Jay Conrad Levinson’s keynote on marketing amid all the recent mergers and acquisitions; a gathering of the CSAA executive committee and several AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction); a trip to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano; presentation of the Stanley C. Lott Award; and a session of the CSAA/UL Fire Certificate Program.

One of the week’s most fascinating festivities was a mock trial in which Alan Pepper (defense) and Stephen Marks (prosecution) of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP presented their arguments to 12 impartial (nonindustry) jurors in a case where an alarm company was sued for loss of life and property stemming from a fire. A camera and microphones were placed in the deliberation room to allow everyone to see and hear how a real jury processes information; many of them let personal experiences and opinions override the law and/or facts of the case.

Although the conference was well attended, there were signs that some are downscaling their travel in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and ongoing terrorism concerns. One seminar, “Signaling on the Internet,” was to feature a panel. However, Jim Stevens of Interlogix was the only one who showed up, and even he was a replacement for Pat Fox. Fortunately, he made the best of the situation by delivering solid information and making amusing asides about being a “panel of one.” Attendees seemed generally pleased with the proceedings, although there was some grumbling about the choice of venue—that it was too distracting having it in California and that a return to more remote, exotic locations would be beneficial.

Next year’s installment is scheduled for Oct. 25-31 at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico.

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