Opinion: Why the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s Mission is Critical

Bob Neely, executive director of the Alarm Association of Florida, expresses his viewpoint why alarm dealers need to stand steadfastly in support of SIAC.

We are the recipients of good fortune in the security industry because we have some very active guardian angels who work for the industry to solve, otherwise, huge issues.

These folks operate under the name SIAC. SIAC stands for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. They are the ones who receive the nightmare calls at all hours from aggrieved alarm dealers throughout the country who have been the victims of ill-considered government decisions or fiscal hijacking that result in limited or no public-safety response to alarm systems.

Do you know that we already have several municipalities within the United States that have simply shut down alarm response be they police or fire? What would you do if your community, suddenly and without warning, decided to do this? They are not fiscally liable. They do not provide insurance and they have no legal obligation under any special relationship to respond at all. You would be left to solve your own issues without any support.

Mission Critical Endeavors

However, the whole reason for SIAC’s existence is to promote, train and educate the industry and public safety on the issues that affect all parties as they relate to alarm system management. On this they do an excellent job, and this is borne out by their studies, mission and solutions. They have almost 20 years’ worth of industry studies to their credit regarding alarm systems and their public and private usages. And they have more on the way.

Nearly 14 years ago I was fortunate enough to receive a telephone call from Alarm Association of Florida (AAF) Past President Ron Walters who asked me if Florida would be willing to join forces with the SIAC program.

Since then Walters, SIAC Executive Director Stan Martin and Glen Mowrey, who serves as SIAC’s national law enforcement liaison out of Charlotte, N.C., have each worked with Florida to promote their program and educate the Florida police chiefs and sheriffs at the executive level.

We have held regional classes for law enforcement on alarm management. Our goal is to reach each region of the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and spread the word about the program. In addition, there is a state committee called the Public/Private Partnership Committee under FPCA that holds quarterly meetings. We also have a subcommittee of that unit called the Alarm Management Committee.

So far, we have interacted with more than 70 municipalities throughout Florida to manage alarm issues; some by providing information and many by actually attending the city council meetings to pass the new model ordinance. At least once a week this office receives calls and inquiries from law enforcement regarding alarm issues.

At least two times a month I am in meetings with chiefs or sheriffs on these matters. But the main point is law enforcement is coming to us for assistance and we have the proven solutions for their problems when it comes to alarms, thanks to SIAC.

Tackling Issues That Affect Dealers

With changes in statutes, ordinances, codes and standards we are constantly barraged with calls about issues affecting our dealers. SIAC is a welcome and well-founded resource for us and for our industry to provide answers and solutions. Some have asked why the individual alarm dealers do not reach out to their local law enforcement instead of depending upon non-profits like SIAC and AAF to represent them. The answer is simple.

Just as in the case of nationally recognized testing laboratories who provide independent research, testing and listing of products, SIAC is an instantly accepted legitimate research and training group embraced by law enforcement for their expertise and professionalism. Their alarm statistics and database provide an in-depth foundation for creative solutions and field training in alarms and alarm management.

On the other hand, the alarm dealers generally, although plentiful, are at best disorganized and ill-equipped for the task of educating law enforcement. That task remains to be done by professionals with law enforcement experience; and they use professionally developed programs and testimonials through SIAC.

The comprehensive approach through the SIAC education corridor is the best and most acceptable path for both law enforcement and the security industry. Their mission is critical and without them a huge void would develop within the two industries of law enforcement and security.

If there is any possible way to support SIAC please do. Now is a crucial time and they need our support.

security Bob Neely is Executive Director of the Alarm Association of Florida.

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