Dallas Security hits 30

Independent integrator moves toward commercial, IP
Saturday, March 1, 2008

DALLAS--In 2008, Dallas Security Systems celebrates its 30th anniversary, having evolved over time from a purely residential operation started by two off-duty police officers to a commercial integrator with 70 employees and UL-listed central station.
Kevin Meadows, executive vice president of operations and a part-owner of the company, has been with the company for 24 years and knows its history. "We started off 100 percent residential. The original owners had a client approach them, saying someone was cutting the fabric in the elevator cab at an apartment complex, and they were spending lots of money refinishing the elevator. So they came up with an idea to lace the walls, getting the elevator to close up and have the alarm go off when the line was cut. Sure enough, someone cut the walls, the elevator went to the first floor, and they were trapped inside. From that point on, our commercial business has grown."
The company now prides itself on its local service, including the work done by its central station, and its commitment to training its technicians, said Ray Cherry, vice president of sales and a part-owner.
"We don't subcontract anything other than some locksmithing," Cherry noted, "or maybe some work with an electrician. Our installation department is about 32 employees or more, and we work in two-man crews, a lead technician and then a wire-puller that we train to move up to lead technician. You're paying out a lot in taxes and Social Security, but you get the kind of work you want. You don't have to fight over getting a subcontractor to do it right ... Unfortunately, word has gotten around that we train so well, and we lose employees who have already been trained by us."
An incentive program forces installers to pass tests regarding installation and programming before receiving raises or taking home company vehicles.
Because of this commitment to excellence, Cherry and Meadows both said they were concerned about unlicensed security work in Dallas and North Texas. Not only are traditional firms letting licenses lapse, new IT firms are "not licensed for security, but they'll try to sneak a camera system in there," said Meadows. He said the laws exist to protect proper security firms, "just not enforcement. They're doing the best they can with the resources they have."