Alarm Companies: Take Caution When Hiring Installers and Subcontractors

Follow these steps to make sure your company is doing the necessary due diligence to avoid putting customers in danger.

Recent cases across the country where alarm company employees have committed nefarious criminal acts against subscribers, or potential subscribers, including rape and murder, amplifies how critically important it is for you to perform exhaustive due diligence on anyone who you plan on putting in the position of trust to sell, design, install and monitor alarm systems for your company, and/or who represents your company in any way. Subcontractors also need to be part of this process.

So where do you start? First, before anyone is hired by your company, you must perform an exhaustive criminal background search on the applicant. Notably, there is legal documentation that needs to be signed for by the applicant beforehand, so you should reach out to Legal Industry Expert Ken Kirschenbaum to get all of the proper forms. The same holds true for your installation and monitoring contracts; Ken has created a specialized form for subcontractors as well.

Having said that, if you do not have all of the necessary resources to perform these tasks, hire a competent company to do the aforementioned for you, but make sure that they are fully qualified, licensed and insured to perform what you have asked of them. Additionally, as part of your policies and procedures manual (if you don’t have one that was professionally drafted, Ken can help you with that as well, as this document is also integral to help protect your company), you should require initial and random drug testing for each employee, as a prerequisite of employment for initial qualification with your company and in order for the employee[s] to be duly qualified for continuing employment at your company.

Some investigative tools your company needs to focus on include:

  • Nationwide wants and warrants searches
  • Criminal background checks
  • Driving license violation checks
  • Workman compensation claims
  • Credit checks
  • Social security verification
  • Drug testing
  • Internet searches (LinkedIn, Facebook)
  • Personal and company references

RELATED: Home Security Salesman Indicted After Fatal Shooting of Homeowner

Also look for any unusual gaps of employment, as this could indicate that the person was incarcerated. Moreover, to the extent that a criminal act is committed by an employee after he/she is hired and there is a record of same, random criminal background searches during employment can also be helpful in being made aware of it. Once you receive the results of your due diligence, it will require a thorough and careful analysis to see if there are any so-called borderline situations which could be deemed acceptable, or not. If you are unsure whether or not to hire a candidate, imagine telling your customers each and everything that you found out about the person[s] who you plan on putting in their home or business as a representative of your company. If you feel that you could not do this, or that the customer would never allow the employee to be in their premises, your only choice is disqualification of the candidate.

The last thing any alarm company and/or central station needs is their good name associated with criminals who were either knowingly or unknowingly hired by your company. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because then you and/or your company can easily be found liable under many legal theories and be responsible for all associated damages that your contract and your insurance company is not going to protect you from.

Bio: Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-IV, SET, CCI, MBAT, is president of Tenafly, N.J.-based IDS Research and Development, Inc., which provides expert forensic, consultation and training services across the country. He has over 40 years of specialized expertise in security and alarm systems, and is an active 18-year designated expert instructor to the New York City Police Department [NYPD]. Zwirn is also the author of “The Alarm Science Manual,” a book review of which can be found here.

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