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Texas twist: N.Y. city outsourcing to collect alarm fines

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Long Island, N.Y., city frustrated by unpaid false-alarm fines is taking a familiar corporate path to change its fortunes: It’s outsourcing the collection work.

Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told CBS News that the city of 35,000 is the first on Long Island to hire an outside company to go door-to-door collecting the fines.

“I’m proud that we are innovative and the first ones doing this,” Tangney said. “And I think many municipalities will follow suit.”

The City Council on Aug. 7 voted to hire Texas-based PMAM Corp. to collect the fines, which start at $100 and rise to $700 for chronic offenders. The company will receive 24 percent of all revenues collected.

While the work went to a firm with stateside headquarters instead of one based in Mumbai, many city residents have voiced their displeasure about the outsourcing and have questioned why the city can’t do the job itself.

“I think it shows how desperate the community is for collecting revenue, and turning it over to a collection agency is a little ridiculous,” business owner Steve Felix told CBS.

City Manager Jack Schnirman defended the move, saying the city doesn’t have the resources to collect the money.

“Like many other municipalities across the nation, this is the form we’re choosing to move forward and go out and collect the fines,” he told the Long Beach Patch, adding that outsourcing is “a lot more cost-effective.”

Apparently lost in the discussion is what could be done to reduce the 1,100 false alarms that city police respond to annually, which would mitigate the fines and the need for the collection work.

Maybe a SIAC session is in order.
 

Industry looks to conventions for clues about security funding

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08/27/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—With Congress in recess in mid-August, security industry watchdogs geared up for two big events outside the Beltway: the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4-6.

STAMPSCO again one of Oklahoma City’s fastest-growing companies

‘A great team’ and hard work lead to big projects, high revenues
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08/22/2012

OKLAHOMA CITY—With 60 percent revenue growth last year, several large-scale projects under way and a hiring increase, it’s really not surprising that STAMPSCO has been named one of this city’s top 50 fastest-growing companies. And this marks the second time in a row that the fire and life safety company has won such recognition.

Per Mar hosted video storage grows

Company looks at Per Mar multi-function app for end users
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08/22/2012

DAVENPORT, Iowa—About two years after launching its hosted video storage offering, sales are steady, Brad Tolliver, VP of Per Mar’s Electronic Security Division, told Security Systems News.

New VP looks to expand Mace CS’ footprint nationwide

Michael Joseph now overseeing California central
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08/22/2012

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Mace Central Station has seen its share of change in the past three years, including the acquisition of CSSS, a shift in CEOs and the recent departure of Morgan Hertel as vice president and general manager. As Hertel’s successor, Michael Joseph sees an opportunity and a challenge: instill continuity in the company’s operations and leverage the Mace name to expand nationwide.

FDNY approves network and cell communications for primary fire signaling

DMP products believed to be first to gain the approval, which is expected to result in a speedy, cost-saving choice for end users
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08/22/2012

NEW YORK—For the first time, the City of New York Fire Department has approved the use of cellular and network communicators for primary fire alarm signaling to central stations—and Digital Monitoring Products is said to be the first manufacturer to win the approval for its network and cellular products.

Hospital secured for patients, employees and a robot

Williams Electronics provides access control for more than just humans
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08/22/2012

ANGOLA, Ind.—In addition to configuring and installing hundreds of cameras and card readers, Williams Electronics techs had to figure out how to ensure that a robot could get on and off elevators and through doors at the new Parkview Regional Medical Center.

Protection 1 acquires two commercially focused companies

'Siteview' App newest offering for national accounts customers
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08/22/2012

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Protection 1 acquired two commercially focused companies in August, deals that build density in Alabama and New Mexico and fit into Protection 1’s drive to grow its commercial/national accounts division into a $100 million business.

Cox to expand home security

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First, Cox Communications began trialing its new home security/home automation in Tucson, Ariz. last summer. Then, it expanded the service to customers in Phoenix this April. Now, the Atlanta-based cable company announced yesterday, the pilot project has been such a success that the company plans to launch Cox Home Security—which is professionally installed and monitored by a third-party provider the company has declined to name—to other markets later this year.

Where? That’s still anybody’s guess. Todd Smith, director of media relations for Cox, told SSN that the company "plans to expand its Home Security service to several additional markets later this year, following a successful pilot over the last 12 months in Arizona. We’ll announce specific markets as we get closer to launch.” The company also is not saying exactly when that will be.

But Cox did say that it has appointed a new general manager for this new growth area: Vince Groff, formerly the company’s director of video product development.

Here’s more from a company news release:

“Cox Home Security provides advanced features not found in most traditional alarm systems with time-saving, cost-saving, and worry-saving features to help customers manage their family’s safety. The reliable, 24/7 secure monitoring systems feature: intrusion and home safety monitoring (includes fire, gas and flood); remote access so the system can be controlled away from home via a secure online site or Smartphone app; email/text alerts to notify customers of occurrences at the home; safety sensors to detect hazardous conditions such as carbon monoxide and smoke; secure video monitoring available via smart phone or a web browse; [and] control of home functions such as lighting and temperature.

One of Cox’s competitive advantages with this product is the ability to offer to customers through a Cox bundle. With the addition of home security services, all of a customer’s Cox services will appear on one bill …
 
As Cox moves to the next stage of deployment, the company has appointed Vince Groff to the new role of general manager of this new business. Groff led the initial Cox Home Security development and trial execution and will now be responsible for the broader rollout and ongoing management of this new business.

Groff joined Cox in 2000 and was a director of video product development before his promotion to executive director of new growth and development. Vince began his career in systems engineering at Delta Air Lines, and also spent time in strategy consulting and venture capital before coming to Cox.

Cox’s launch in 2011 made it a leader among the telecoms and cablecos entering the security market. Check back here for more developments on this new industry player.

 

Department of Redundancy Department: Five for COPS

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Make it five for COPS.

The wholesale monitoring company, headquartered in Williamstown, N.J., has opened its fifth central station, an 8,000-square-foot facility in Lewisville, Texas. The new center will share live alarm traffic with the company’s centrals in New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.  

Four-year COPS veteran Derek Kopko will manage the new facility, which has 26 employees. Kopko relocated to Texas from COPS’ headquarters in December 2011 and has been hiring and training new dispatchers for the past seven months, the company said in a prepared statement.

Gene Reed, an industry veteran and COPS’ newest account executive, will oversee sales in the region.

David Smith, director of marketing and communications for COPS, told Security Systems News that adding central stations benefits the company in two key ways.

“First, because all five of our central stations are hot-redundant and actively share the signal load of the entire company, each central station we bring online reduces the probability that adverse local conditions [such as weather] will affect our response times,” he said. “Second, we believe that each geographical region presents its own benefits and challenges to alarm dealers. By operating central stations and having employees in these different regions, we have the opportunity to become more involved with our dealers and better understand how we can support them and help grow their business.”

Smith said the commitment to redundancy proved its worth last August during Hurricane Irene.

“When (Irene) went up the East Coast and actually hit our New Jersey headquarters, it only added about a second to our response time because we were able to overstaff all our other central stations,” he said. “The more we do that, the more that we diversify our staff, the more stable and dependable our fast response times become.”

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