Calif. companies face alarm verification woes

Monday, October 1, 2007

FONTANA, Calif.-The chief of police has warned alarm and monitoring companies they will be held responsible for verifying the legitimacy of alarms prior to notifying police when the city implements a verified response policy Oct. 1.
Monitoring companies in this area are now deciding how to add verification methods to their existing accounts to comply with this new policy, according to Morgan Hertel, vice president of the Command Center, a contract central station in Corono, Calif.
"The next step for the [Central Station] Alarm Association is to reach out to subscribers through the dealers and say: 'This is the situation. This is the cost involved in verifying alarms. What do you want to do?'" he said.
Complying with this new policy could prove costly to both alarm companies and end users. "For the average small commercial account that wants to add video verification, it could easily be $2,500 or more to get started. Audio would be less and guard response is a whole other issue," he said. "This area has not traditionally been served by guard response in the past, so now we have to find vendors willing to come into that area and take that on. Comparative to other areas, it could be a $40 to $50 additional fee."
In addition, alarm companies are concerned about subscribers' reaction to costs associated with the new policy. "From the central station point of view, we can handle the technology, [adding audio or video] or arrangement for private response, but whether or not the end user will want to arbitrarily pay for that is unknown," Hertel said.