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Comment on should alarm industry thank Sandy Springs, GA / private meetings for 3/17 at ISC / Round Table Discussions at ISC
March 4, 2020
Comment on should alarm industry thank Sandy Springs, GA? From article on February 20, 2020
            I enjoy your blog and the sound legal advice that you provide to our industry. But I must take strong exception to the concept that Sandy Springs, Georgia’s oppressive False Alarm Reduction program is good for our industry. On the contrary, it creates multiple additional costs and problems that are completely unnecessary to accomplishing the goal of significantly reducing false alarm dispatches. In addition, it is certainly not good for the businesses, homes, schools and other facilities covering approximately 80% of Sandy Springs that our industry helps to protect. 
            You are correct that while alarm companies would have the contractual right to collect the fines from customers, it would also damage customer relations, delay a penalty (potential correction) for the individual actually creating the problem and lead to an administrative nightmare, with substantially increased administrative costs for our industry. Imagine what would happen if more of the nation’s approximately 18,000 public safety agencies adopted this flawed approach. One local company serving Sandy Springs alone has had to pay the city more than $100,000 in fines to prevent the city from ending service to all of the company’s customers. 
            The process of appealing a fine in Sandy Springs is also burdensome and can have additional added costs beyond the fine. Sandy Springs doesn’t send a ticket to Ford if someone is speeding in their Mustang. Why are alarm companies being treated differently rather than using this common-sense approach?
            Working together, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), the National Sheriffs’ Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have developed and helped implement a common sense alarm ordinance that has dramatically reduced calls for service in communities throughout the country while maintaining the police response citizens are already paying for with their taxes. 
            Video and audio can be utilized to give dispatchers more information to potentially upgrade the priority of a call but does not make thousands of current installed systems obsolete. It should be noted that 80% of alarm systems generate no calls for service in any given year. Industry experts say most customers will not pay for security guard response and will respond on their own; a dangerous practice. 
            The model ordinance is fair and effective for both citizens and the police and has been adopted by more than 1,000 communities nationwide. The real question is why didn’t Sandy Springs properly implement and utilize this win-win approach?  
Stan Martin, Executive Director
Security Industry Alarm Coalition
            The reality is that this municipality has enacted false alarm fines to be assessed against the alarm companies.  You report that one local company has already paid $100,000 in fines.  Well that company’s customers are sure generating a lot of false alarms, at least as defined by Sandy Springs.  If this company decides to eat the fines and not look to the customers because of client relations, then good for it; or perhaps it doesn’t use the Standard Form Agreement that contains indemnity for false alarms from the customer.  
            Elected officials enacted the law.  The customers elected the officials.  Alarm companies should seek indemnity from their customers for the fines and if the customers don’t like it they can change the law or change the public officials.  Also, unless customers are paying the fines they are not going to care about the false alarm issue.  
            I mentioned that I don’t think alarm companies should be fined for false alarms. I understand why the municipality has decided to target the alarm companies; at least I think I do.  They figure the alarm companies install the systems; train or fail to train the end users, and ultimately are the one to call in the false alarm. 
            The Sandy Springs law requires verification, and that is good for the alarm business, if alarm companies are smart enough to sell verification service.  They need to and they should.  Technology is available, through cameras primarily, audio to a lesser extent.  The good old call to the premises is another option; easiest I suppose.  Runner service is not something most end users will want to pay for, though some advocate that it’s the inevitable future for the alarm industry.
            SIA is vested in alarm reduction.  The perspective of my article was that the law will cause additional business for alarm companies; if implemented it will likely reduce false alarms.  The issue of what it will do to customer relations is speculative and filled with conjecture.  Everyone can agree on false alarm reduction; it’s how you achieve it that we can’t seem to agree upon.  
            It’s interesting that a municipality would think that the easiest target and best way to get paid is to fine the alarm company. I don’t agree with that thinking. The most assured way to get paid is to treat the fine as a tax against the reality, like a real estate tax assessment. Most likely a municipality could not enact such law without the consent of the state legislature, which is why we see the alarm fine laws on a local level rather than statewide level.  
            There was quite the uproar when false alarm fines arrived on the scene.  Laws that targeted the alarm company were changed to target the end user. Whether the law in Sandy Springs will change remains to be seen.  In the meantime, as I suggested in my article, the alarm industry should embrace the new law, sell verification and seek indemnity for the fines.

Schedule Free Private meeting while at ISC with Ken Kirschenbaum - SOLD OUT [call to get on waiting list]:
            I am scheduling free meetings at ISC now for March 17, 2020. [18th and 19th are booked solid].  The meetings are free and scheduled in half hour increments.  Any issues can be discussed or just stop by to chat.  To reserve a time please contact Stacy Spector,Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304 or

Round Table Discussions while at ISC, at Palazzo Hotel.  Free to participate.  Space very limited so book now.  Call Stacy Spector,Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304 to reserve your seat. [waiting list available for sold out Roundtables]
Round Table:  March 18, 2020 at 11 AM.  Join Morgan Hertel, VP of Technology and Innovation, Rapid Response Monitoring and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on current state of monitoring including technology and well as outside influencers like minimum wages and privacy laws. 
Round Table: March 18, 2020 at 1 PM.  Join Mitch Reitman and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on Taxes and Corporate issues for alarm companies relevant when selling or buying accounts. Sold Out
Round Table:  March 18, 2020 at 2 PM.  Join Ron Davis and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on Selling or buying alarm accounts and RMR issues.  Sold Out
Round Table: March 19, 2020 9:30 AM [note new time change] Join Troy Iverson, VP of Sales, Brian Davis, CFO of AvantGuard Monitoring Centers and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on the Current state of the Financial/Capital Market Stability in the Security Industry and necessary agreements needed for security companies. (Titian 2202 Meeting Room just off the show floor)
NEW: Round Table: March 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM.  Join Don Maden, EVP, COPS Monitoring and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on how your monitoring company can help you avoid a lawsuit. 
Round Table: March 19, 2020 at 1 PM.  Join Sharon Elder, VP Sales, USA Central Station and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on the value of quality video contracts and services  Sold Out
Round Table:  March 19, 2020 at 3 PM.  Join Bart Didden, Executive Claims Administrator, Security America and Ken Kirschenbaum for a round table discussion on Errors and Omissions Insurance Claims and Risk Management

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301