Sonitrol Celebrates 50 Years in the Alarm Verification Business

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sonitrol will celebrate its 50th year in the alarm verification industry this year.

The firm originally started out as a pest extermination business founded by Robert Baxter, who developed an acoustic device to pinpoint the exact locations of termites. Al Cronk, a 17-year veteran of the Anderson Police Department in Indiana, recognized that the technology could be used to detect human intruders in homes and business, so he contacted Baxter with an idea, says Bill McNabney, Sonitrol’s first employee.

“Al walked into Bob’s office 50 years ago, and told him that, as a police officer, he had never actually caught a burglar in-progress because of an alarm system,” says McNabney, who also founded Sonitrol University. “But [Al told Bob] he had an idea of how to do it, and Sonitrol was born. That was the inception of verified alarms. They were created by a police officer for police officers.”

Founded in 1964, Sonitrol helps to maximize the efficiency of local law enforcement agencies’ time and resources. In 1977, the firm began recording apprehension statistics. Since that time, Sonitrol has assisted in more than 170,000 documented apprehensions — a rate of one apprehension every 111 minutes.

“Our technology could never have achieved the success that it has in this highly competitive industry without the expertise and courageous response of the local law enforcement to arrive onsite to confront and apprehend individuals,” says Bruce Winner, director of the Sonitrol Brand.

Today, the firm’s modern-day impact-activated audio alarm verification technology is available through more than 125 Sonitrol dealers around the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sonitrol operates 26 central monitoring stations throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to audio intrusion alarms, the firm offers monitored video, access control and fire detection.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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