PPVAR Panels Highlight Video Verification Benefits, Need for Standard

Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response’s two-part panel at ISC West 2014 covered the internal debate going on within the electronic security industry about video verification.

LAS VEGAS – Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response (PPVAR) hosted a two-part panel session on Wednesday to delve into the benefits and value of video verified alarms. The wide-ranging discussion featured a diverse cross section of stakeholders, including law enforcement, the insurance industry, manufacturing, installing security/monitoring providers, legal and financial advisors, and more. The sheer number of participants in the dual panels underscored the varied assemblage of groups deeply engaged in the video verification conversation.

Following is a summation of some of the topics discussed during the two-hour-long program attended by a standing room only crowd that filled a sizable conference room at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. 

Steve Walker, vice president of the Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, moderated the first panel, focusing on the perspectives of law enforcement and the insurance industry. The panelists included:

  • Scott Edson, Commander, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Paul Fitzgerald, Story County (Iowa) Sheriff and past president of National Sheriffs’ Assn.
  • Jim Hughes, North Texas Crime Commission
  • Fred Lohmann, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
  • Tony Canale, Verisk Crime Analytics (parent company of ISO)
  • Steve Schmit, Underwriters Laboratories

All three law enforcement representatives expressed that typical intrusion alarms in their jurisdictions – because of the high rate of false alarms – do not receive anywhere near the dispatch priority of an event that has been “video verified.” None of the law enforcement panelists support a non-response policy; however, they all expressed that dispatches to non-verified alarms are treated with far less urgency. Their strong affinity for the potential to leverage video verification is essentially twofold: the ability to enhance crime-fighting efforts and arrest rates, and improve officer safety (especially in rural communities where officers must cover extended distances, as well ascertaining identity and determining whether or not perpetrators are carrying weapons).

Lohmann, a PPVAR board member, praised the public-private partnership that has taken root in the security industry to progress the cause for verifying alarm events. He likened it to similar longstanding NICB-led endeavors to leverage technology and cooperative efforts with law enforcement, manufacturers and others to diminish the scourge of vehicle theft rates across the nation. “We were able to – working as a partnership – greatly reduce vehicle theft,” he said. “We certainly see the same opportunities to have a positive impact on reducing property crime.”

Lohmann stressed only a prolonged, concerted effort will result in positively impacting property crime rates using video as well as audio verification technologies. Vitally, Lohmann and Schmit both stressed, the missing piece to date in the security industry is a verification standard that can be readily implemented by law enforcement agencies, as well installing security and monitoring contractors.

“We have to have standards … so that law enforcement agencies know what the rules and protocols are. You [the security industry] have to know what you are responsible for,” Lohmann said. “There are a lot of smart, learned people in this room [who have the wherewithal] to develop the protocols to get that information to law enforcement through standards and guidelines and best practices.”

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About the Author


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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