Competing Ariz. Alarm Associations Quarrel Over Licensing Rules

TUCSON, Ariz. — Claiming the Arizona Alarm Association (AzAA) falsely misrepresents installing security contractors, several alarm companies here have started a new organization solely for alarm contractors called the Arizona Alarm Dealer Association (AADA) to challenge the organization.

The purpose of AADA is to represent all installing security contractors and to promote the expansion of new business and job growth within the state. In contrast, the AzAA mostly represents municipalities, manufacturers and national monitoring stations, AADA President Roger Score tells SSI.

“Most of their association is filled with alarm monitoring companies, national suppliers, lobbyists and police forces,” he says. “They have 39 police departments as members, which displays collusion between government and private businesses. They want big government regulation to regulate small companies out of business.”

To join AADA, interested parties are required to complete an alarm dealer application, which is available on the group’s Web site. To ensure AADA is affordable for all companies to join, the group charges its dealer members $30.60 annually, says Score who is also the owner of Tucson Alarm. He notes AADA is not solely for small mom ‘n’ pop alarm companies. Large firms with a goal of expanding their sales capabilities, rather than seeking to limit the competition are more than welcome to join. Monitoring companies, manufacturers and security guards can join the organization as associate members; however, they must pay a $200 annual membership fee and they will not be voting members.

“Associate members are basically there to support us and bring us products we can sell so that we can diversify the market,” Score says. “We want to create a bigger marketplace so that we don’t step on each other.”

Score started AADA with a few other local alarm firms last summer after the Arizona State Legislature’s passage of H.B. 2748, which regulates statewide licensing. The legislation mandates all alarm company owners and agents to have a single criminal background check administered annually, and submit to a one-time fingerprinting requirement. Under the statute, businesses must register with the Board of Technical Registration (BTR), while companies already licensed with the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) were exempt.

However, all that changed recently with the introduction of H.B. 2185, which will amend the alarm business and alarm agent certification requirements within the BTR if approved. According to Score, not only does the bill attempt to close the loophole that excludes ROC contractors from BTR fingerprinting and background checks, it would also allow police to demand alarm company records, including names, call list information, alarm activity, payment types and more.

“They want police to be able to collect permit fees and false alarm fines and they need that information to do it,” Score says. “But it violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”

According to AzAA President Maria Malice, who worked for four years to get statewide alarm licensing passed last year, there was language in H.B. 2748 that required retooling, as it restricted the police from getting information necessary for an alarm dispatch.

“You know as well as I do that in order for police to do their jobs, they need certain information from us,” she tells SSI. “Roger [Score] convinced Sen. [Frank] Antenorri that the police department asks for information like passcodes, when a customer pays his bill and the customer’s account number. This is not something that any department has ever asked for in 28 years.”

Additionally, the ROC does not require background checks for alarm installers, which has the potential to put a red mark on the industry, according to Malice. As an example, she cites an incident in which Pinnacle Security paid a $1 million fine for hiring convicted felons.

“[AADA’s] comment is always that they don’t want more government in their business,” Malice says. “I’m sorry, but as soon as you open your doors and become a business, the government is involved. You don’t want to send a bad person out to do security.”

Score maintains that although he has issue with the current language of the H.B. 2185, the AADA’s aim is not to stop the legislation.

“Why would we stop something that says what we want?” Score asks. “We want to rewrite the legislation for them. Our organization’s goal is to protect other people in the business.”

This isn’t the first time that Malice and Score went head-to-head. Last year, the duo battled it out after the Tucson city council approved a revised alarm ordinance that required alarm owners to pay an annual $20 permit fee. Malice supported the measure’s approval, while Score opposed it, claiming that it could put small alarm companies out of business.

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