On flies and honey

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The monitoring industry has perhaps never found itself working so closely with local municipalities. Though there is a long history of attempts at false alarm reduction and relationships with police forces that go back decades, we have been buffeted lately by stories of cities and towns all over North America that are trying to legislate their way out of alarm problems and budget holes.

The efforts of the SIAC, especially, are to be commended in a great many of these cases. Their emphasis on early involvement, cooperation, fairness, and consistency has resulted in a slew of well-crafted ordinances that understand the realities of both alarm monitoring and community policing.

The common denominator in virtually every successful outcome is an avoidance of adversarial relationships. When the alarm industry shows a willingness to feel a municipality’s pain, that willingness is often reciprocated.

Cities and towns face budget deficits. As just two examples, both Oakland, Calif., and Chicago decided to employ private guards or expand the power of private guards as a way to offset policing costs. Some 30 states face deficits for fiscal year 2009, and that difficulty is passed on to local cities and towns that depend on state funding.

Are you part of the problem? Then expect your local selectmen and councilors to patch their holes with your margin.

Or are you part of the solution? Are you partnering to augment their police forces with video monitoring? Are you minimizing false alarms, using CSAA best practices, and partnering with guard firms?

Beat your local town fathers to the punch. Approach them with an alarm policy drafted by the SIAC. Ask them how your services can stretch their thin tax dollars. Work with them, rather than against them.