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Volunteers fighting false alarms in Nevada

Carson City pioneering new approach
 - 
12/09/2014

CARSON CITY, Nev.—The sheriff’s office here is using volunteers to reduce false alarm dispatches, an approach new to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, SIAC says.

Volunteers fight false alarms in Carson City, Nev.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Steve Keefer, western U.S. law enforcement liaison for SIAC, noticed that Carson City, Nevada, is trying something different in the attempt to reduce false alarms—utilizing volunteers through the sheriff’s office. This is an approach that is very new to SIAC, Keefer said.

These volunteers are “regular citizens that just want to help out in the community,” Keefer told Security Systems News.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office started this approach at least five years ago, but SIAC hadn’t heard about it until recently, according to Keefer. 

The sheriff’s office has two volunteers that speak with false alarms offenders and discuss ways of reducing the problem. Apparently, these efforts, more often than not, are met with full cooperation.

Keefer said that these volunteers in Carson City, Nev., are currently speaking with commercial alarm users, but Keefer believes this process could have a residential application as well.

SIAC is an organization that is always focused on reducing the numbers of false alarms and the strain that puts on local authorities. As such they’ve been keeping an eye on people that approach this matter from different angles.

"What was unique about Carson City's Sheriff Office- they don't even have an ordinance," he said. Keefer mentioned that this could be a model that SIAC would recommend to other sheriff's offices if SIAC sees this lead to positive results in Carson City. 

This certainly seems to be a different way of going about the matter, as opposed to reforming ordinances or imposing fines for false alarms. This shows that the matter is not just one sided, that both citizens and authorities care about reducing false alarms.

California leads the way for SIAC

Organization forging new law enforcement partnerships in 2015
 - 
11/17/2014

CHULA VISTA, Calif.—California is leading the way in adopting false alarm ordinances, according to Jon Sargent, the industry/law enforcement liaison for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition.

Ron Walters wins William Moody Award

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07/11/2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Ron Walters, director of the Security Industry Alarm Association, was honored at ESX 2014 with the William Moody Award, according to a recent blog post from SIAC.

According to the blog, the award was “probably long overdue.”

PPVAR, SIAC talk verified alarm standards

Guidelines needed to govern how central stations and PSAPs interact during a dispatch
 - 
06/11/2014

LAS VEGAS—It’s little wonder that the topic of verified alarms tends to spark dialogue between those in law enforcement and the alarm space. Intended to reduce false dispatches while increasing apprehensions, verified alarms—and the policies that guide them—are of critical importance to both groups, and continue to shape the relationship between them.

SIAC urges compliance with best practices to avoid false panic alarms

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06/03/2014

FRISCO, Texas—The Security Industry Alarm Coalition, a North American industry organization focused on alarm management, is urging the use of best practices to reduce false panic alarms triggered by key fobs, according to a news release.

Ohio city enacts alarm verification

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plagued by an astronomical 98 percent false alarm rate for security systems, Akron, Ohio is following the lead of several other major American cities and introducing verified alarm response, according to a report from the Associated Press, and a news release from Sonitrol, an audio verification company.

The policy, adopted in larger cities such as Detroit, Las Vegas and Milwaukee, is simple: If an alarm goes off, a possible crime must be confirmed prior to law enforcement dispatch.

There are several causes of false alarms—outdated systems and installation flaws are among the most common culprits. But whatever the cause, the torrent of towns and cities taking measures to address them suggests that municipalities and police departments have had enough. In addition to being a budgetary drag, false alarms can potentially have dire consequences if they delay police response to more critical calls.

To some, enacting policies designed to confirm crime prior to police dispatch sets the stage for greater cooperation between the industry and law enforcement. But according to the AP report, not everyone is sold on these measures being the best means of ensuring maximum public safety. David Margulies, spokesman for the SIAC, was quoted in the report saying such policies are "basically putting the public in danger." To be sure, there is a fundamental tension between the need for municipalities to save resources by reducing false dispatch and certain ideas about the best policies for responding to alarms. In the coming days, I hope to gather some opinions on both sides of this debate.

I’ll be interested to hear how municipal measures to curb false dispatches through verification policies modify the demands of central station personnel on the ground level. As such policies become more widespread, how will the industry change? Does the future of monitored alarms involve video or audio verification becoming de rigueur?

New role for Jay Hauhn

 - 
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jay Hauhn, chief technology officer and VP of industry relations at Tyco Integrated Security, has been named president of CSAA. The announcement was made at the organization’s recent annual meeting in Quebec City. Hauhn, who most recently served as vice president for the organization, assumes the role held by Robert Bean, whose term expires this year.

Hauhn is actively involved in several industry organizations. Since 2011, he has served as chairman of the board at The Security Industry Association, a role in which he has executive responsibility for all interaction with industry associations, regulatory agencies and state and federal governments. His current term as Chairman of the Board at SIA ends this year.

Hauhn also sits on the board of directors at the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, and he is chairman of the Electronic Security Association’s government relations committee.  

I’m scheduled to speak with Hauhn later this week about his expanded role at CSAA. In that interview, I’ll discuss some of Hauhn’s short- and long-term ambitions as the newly minted leader of the organization.

A chat with SIAC’s Stan Martin

 - 
Friday, September 6, 2013

This morning I had the opportunity to chat with Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. He proved to be a valuable font of information about the current state of the alarm industry, in particular the three-pronged relationship involving alarm monitoring companies, law enforcement and municipal governments—all of which play huge collaborative roles in responding to legitimate alarms and mitigating false ones.

When I asked him what he considers an ideal alarm ordinance, it became abundantly clear just what kind of challenges an effective alarm ordinance has to address. A whole constellation of considerations go into curbing false alarms. 

“We’ve studied alarm management issues for twenty plus years, and we know what best practices will reduce these unnecessary dispatches,” Martin said. “We list them in our model ordinance.”

A model ordinance, Martin said, should require all alarm systems to be registered with local police. It should mandate the use of Enhanced Call Verification, or two-call verification, a protocol that requires alarm monitoring stations to attempt to confirm a signal is valid before requesting dispatch. It should require that panels feature the newest equipment standards, meaning they are compliant with the ANSI/SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard – Features for false alarms—a standard that minimizes the single biggest cause of false alarms: human error.

Martin also emphasized the tremendous importance of strict enforcement of an alarm ordinance, but acknowledged that enforcement measures vary by municipality, and are often dictated by local politics—particularly with respect to the number of free responses permitted. The SIAC recommends no more than one or two free responses. It also recommends suspending response once a fixed number, generally between the range of six and 10, has been surpassed. 

Martin says this curtails chronic abuse and holds some of the larger commercial entities accountable. “You do need to stop responses,” he said. “Otherwise, the higher-end clients, commercial clients, banks in particular, will just write the check. They consider that easier. It’s the cost of doing business. But when police say they’re not going to come any longer, they have to take some kind of corrective action.”

Simon says it's time to cooperate with your local PD

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Giving your customer list to law enforcement makes sense.

That statement seems to fly in the face of convention for the alarm industry, which hasn’t exactly been cozy over the years with the boys in blue. But Dave Simon, writing recently for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, makes a compelling case for doing so.

Simon argues that there are far more benefits to cooperating with law enforcement than erecting barriers. Despite concerns in the past that sensitive information about customers could be compromised, that hasn’t happened, he said. And he draws another conclusion (agree with it or not) in this age of surveillance: Police departments will eventually get the lists anyway, so why not partner with them as good citizens?

The bottom line, Simon wrote, is that SIAC believes the cooperative approach bears more fruit. Here’s more of what he had to say:

Besides being nice, alarm dealers are actually helping customers in those cities where they provide the lists. Why? Because the list helps the PD do their job, ensure compliance and get systems registered. All that means a better-run alarm management program, improved enforcement and increased public safety. That’s good for the alarm dealer because customers have fewer false dispatches, saving them expensive fines and the risk of losing police response.

SIAC promotes cooperative problem-solving. This is a great example of how we can be supportive and help local jurisdictions—particularly the police department—conserve resources. We’ve found that even the largest national companies give lists. Cooperating with law enforcement is not a novel idea. Supplying customer lists should be an extension of our continued cooperation to ensure well-executed alarm management programs.

Simon invites opinions on the subject, pro or con, at siacinc.wordpress.com.

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