On March 31, I again had the distinct honor of being able to reveal and present the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award’s annual winner. This year it was Atronic Alarms of Lenexa, Kan., with Custom Alarm of Rochester, Minn., and ADT Security Services of Boca Raton, Fla., being the other finalists. You can read all about it in the May issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION.
The PDQ program is near and dear to my heart as it developed out of a concept I presented to Stan Martin, now executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), and Larry Dischert, now retired but at the time director of industry and regulator liaison for ADT, during an ISC West show earlier this decade. A couple of years later the vision was realized with the addition of the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA).
Established jointly in 2005 by SSI, SIAC and FARA, the PDQ program aims to curtail the false alarm problem by recognizing installing and monitoring companies that follow established industry best practices and partner with law enforcement to achieve the highest quality in police dispatch requests. The goal is to raise industry-wide awareness, motivate alarm firms to be proactive and provide models that work for others to follow.
As is often the case, I gathered far more material than could possibly be shoehorned into the print article and so here I give loyal Under Surveillance readers the third part of five bonus postings covering this year’s PDQ program. This installment allows you to go inside the head of one of the program’s judges, Norma Beaubien, to find out why Atronic received such high marks. Beaubien, director of the Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Police False Alarm Reduction Section, is the former president of FARA and a member of the SSI Hall of Fame.
What made Atronic worthy of winning the 2009 Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award for its efforts in reducing false alarms and dispatches? What set the company apart from other entrants?
Norma Beaubien: Atronic’s incredible customer service, custom designs, training and its dedicated Quality Assurance Department (QAD) are all things that set Atronic apart from others. Their Quality Assurance Department’s sole responsibility is to eliminate false alarms. Once a sale and installation is made, the QAD steps in to walk test the entire system; they review the installation, wiring and equipment placement. They take photos of each installation for the file in case issues may arise and provide one-on-one training to all users of the system. They are committed as a company to excellent service, no false alarms and community involvement, which extends from the owner through to the sales staff, installers, customer service employees, and all others who work for Atronic. Atronic encourages their customers to attend area police department alarm schools immediately upon installation of their systems as a preventative measure. They have an on-call security technician available to respond to problems 24/7/365, and their general manager is even available after-hours for any customer service issues that may arise. These types of initiatives go above and beyond what many other alarm companies are currently doing and help to distinguish Atronic as a company worthy of the PDQ Award.
Norma Beaubien analyzes false alarm dispatch reports.
How does Atronic serve as a role model for other alarm companies to follow?
Beaubien: Atronic has a comprehensive false alarm prevention program in place that excels at eliminating false alarms. Every alarm company can learn from Atronic’s success and implement similar programs in their own companies. Atronic installs 100-percent CP-01 compliant panels programmed at default settings. They take time with each and every customer from the beginning; during the sale of the system salespeople take time to custom design a system that will meet the exact specifications of the customer’s lifestyle. This goes a tremendous way in reducing and/or eliminating false alarms from the beginning. Their program also requires extensive user training before the account will be placed on line with the monitoring center. Additionally, phone calls are made to every customer who has a dispatch the previous day to determine the cause. Remedial action is then taken as required – either retraining or a service call if appropriate. That alone is extremely successful in reducing false alarms, as the cause is determined immediately and corrective action is taken so future false alarms for the same reason do not occur. All of the above initiatives help Atronic stand out as an exemplary alarm company willing to go the extra mile for their customers and public safety alike.
What procedures or policies did Atronic implement that you believe have made the biggest difference?
Beaubien: Atronic’s hands-on policies have created an atmosphere within the company that gives ownership of false alarm prevention to every employee of the company. The custom design and installation perfectly fits each alarm user, installation of only CP-01 panels immediately makes the systems less prone to false alarm, and their insistence on full, focused training of all alarm users before allowing any system to go online for monitoring have made the biggest impact.
What role do equipment standards like CP-01, response practices (i.e., Enhanced Call Verification), alarm installer training (i.e., NTS) and end-user training play in successful alarm management?
Beaubien: This criterion forms the basis from which the alarm industry can realize strong, sustained and real false alarm reduction. The research is clear that ECV has a dramatic effect on the reduction of false dispatches. Use of CP-01 compliant equipment, and technician and user training are best practices that should be included in any good, comprehensive alarm management program.
What does Atronic do to foster strong relations with law enforcement?
Beaubien: Atronic fosters strong relations with law enforcement through ongoing cooperative endeavors such as helping to teach alarm schools with local police departments. Nothing speaks louder than their excellent false alarm prevention programs that reduce or eliminate false alarms for their customers, which then allows police greater opportunity to patrol neighborhoods, engage in community policing initiatives and respond to true crime. They ensure that their customers obtain the required permits by helping them complete t
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!