NBFAA gov't group talks business

Thursday, June 26, 2008

NASHVILLE--How security installers can take advantage of existing government business opportunities was a recurring point of discussion at the government relations meeting here on June 25.
The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association's government relations committee met bright and early on the second day of the ESX conference to discuss what's going on in Washington.
NBFAA executive director Merlin Guilbeau asked about ways to ensure that members, who haven't worked with the federal government's GSA schedule previously, can get up to speed so they can expand their work with local and state governments.
Specifically, Guilbeau was referring to a bill the president is expected to sign shortly called the "The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act." The bill will make security and fire projects more affordable for state and local governments by extending cooperative purchasing to GSA Schedule 84. This means that state and local governments can purchase fire alarm systems, access control devices, perimeter security, video surveillance systems and other homeland security goods and services at GSA-approved prices. (Search "Bill to increase bottom line for security integrators" at www.securitysystemsnews.com for more information about this bill.)
NBFAA lobbyist John Chwat is going to set up a meeting with the GSA and committee members to discuss the possibility of setting up "specific GSA training for NBFAA members."
Chwat is also in the early stages of crafting and looking for a sponsor for a bill tentatively called the "Video Surveillance Protection Act." Currently the Justice Department gives away "millions of dollars" through the Edwin Burn Grant Program for video surveillance projects in smaller cites. The grants go to cities whose Congressional representatives get their cities "earmarked" for a grant. (Chwat read a list of cities--including Shreveport, La., Allentown, Pa., and Billings, Mont.--that have received grants in the $500,000 range.)
"I would make the argument to Congress that instead of earmarking, we should create a program where cities could apply for grants for the purchase of [video surveillance] equipment that would be professionally installed," Chwat said.