CSAA Annual meeting presents opportunity for attendees, award to Petrow

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Friday, November 13, 2009

ATHENS, Greece—The CSAA Annual Meeting, which concluded here on Oct. 21, was deemed a very successful event by newly appointed CSAA president Ed Bonifas, who is vice president of Alarm Detection Systems. “You want to know why CSAA’s Annual Meeting is a got-to-attend event?” Bonifas asked. “We had the presidents and presidents-elect of the International Fire Chiefs, the International Police Chiefs, the National Sheriffs’ Association and APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) … We are the only place on the planet where the leadership for all of those organizations meets on an annual basis.”

RSI Video Technologies president and CEO Keith Jentoft was in Athens and agreed the accessibility of so many AHJs was a valuable resource. “They get all the AHJs—all of them—in one spot. Where else can you go and sit next to all these people?” Jentoft asked. “If you’re a normal dealer and you go over there and pay the money, you can get your views heard.”

Bonifas said that while attendance at the CSAA Annual Meeting was down compared to other years—as with other shows in 2009—the meeting was a huge success. “The attendance was down from previous years, due to the economy,” Bonifas said, but noted, “Remarkably, the last day of these meetings in Athens—usually the last day of a CSAA convention the room is empty, there’s seven people sitting in a big room—but on the last day we almost filled the house—last event, last day, last speaker. That was awesome. The content was good and the people there were very interested.”

The last speaker of the meeting, Vector Security COO Pam Petrow, was one of the most interesting in the program, according to Bonifas. At the President’s Banquet the final night of the event, APCO surprised Petrow with the APCO International Special Recognition Award For Public Safety Technology Advancement for her extensive work on a computer-aided dispatch system—the External Alarm Interface Exchange Standard—for PSAP to central station data exchange. (Security Systems News reported on the development and vetting of the standard last year). According to Bonifas, APCO’s nod signified the importance of the strides Petrow has made on the CAD-to-CAD data exchange program. “I understand it’s rarely given to people outside their own industry,” Bonifas said, “and they gave it to Pam for all her hard work and energies.”

Petrow appreciated the honor, and the opportunity she’s had to participate in something larger than just her work at Vector. “It was a total surprise. The award is generally awarded at the APCO International Annual Conference, which I was unable to attend this year due to a scheduling conflict. I never expected them to make this presentation outside of their normal venue,” Petrow said in an email interview. “Working with APCO, the PSAPs, IJIS [Integrated Justice Information Systems] Institute and the many other parties over the past several years has been a tremendous privilege and a learning experience. Sometimes our industry is focused on our piece of the picture in the alarm transmission process and we don’t fully understand the different regulations and challenges that impact the PSAPs. This project has been one of the best public/private partnerships I have ever participated in.”