COPS to open West Coast central station

Wednesday, January 1, 2003

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -An independent contract monitoring center is looking to build a backup central station here, a move that company officials expect will boost both the reliability of the company’s monitoring operations as well as its West Coast market share.

At press time, COPS Monitoring was in negotiations for a location in Scottsdale in the hopes of beginning construction  as soon as a suitable location is found, said Jim McMullen, COPS president. Along with providing a backup facility in the event that the main central station in Williamstown, N.J. was rendered inoperable, the new facility will provide a greater company presence for the company’s current and potential customers there.

“We believe that we need a local presence out there,” McMullen said.

To lead the efforts for the new central station, COPS hired Maria Malice, an 18-year industry veteran and former general manager of ACM UL Monitoring Station in Phoenix. Malice said plans call for a central facility with about 4,000 square feet of monitoring space. The facility is slated to be up and running sometime in May.

The new central station, which will represent an investment of about $1 million, will likely be staffed with about 50 percent of the main monitoring center’s complement, McMullen said, or around 20 workstations with a corresponding number of dispatchers. The Williamstown facility, which currently monitors about 200,000 accounts, has 47 workstations. The two-hour time difference between the two locations will allow for some “load sharing” between the two facilities, he said. About 35 to 40 percent of the cost will be to equip the central station with technology.

The company had already prepared for the expansion through a technological upgrade to the main central station a year ago that allows for a number of locations to be linked to the central station mainframe.

COPS is also expanding its operations at its headquarters with a two-story, 3,600-square-foot expansion of an employee athletic center. The new wing will house a 2,000 square-foot gymnasium and other workout rooms for the company’s 150 employees at a cost of between $400,000 to $500,000, McMullen said.