Security Watch

New York licensing proposal draws criticism; concerns over fire protection districts getting into the monitoring business

"By Illinois law, the fire department district is not allowed to enter the private alarm monitoring business," continued Donati. And despite actions of fire districts to present this bill in Springfield, recent findings indicate fire districts face a tough road to passage.

Citing the recent events that occurred with Tri-Com's decision to stay out of the alarm monitoring business, (which the IESA was asked to help with last August), Lehan stated he was uncertain what caused the St. Charles, Ill.-based PSAP for Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, Ill., to "opt out" and "change their mind about taking central station accounts."

According to the Kane County Chronicle, Tri-Com said it had fewer accounts than it thought and that it was not "economically feasible." Nonetheless, the IESA and CSAA see the turn of events as a step forward in their grassroots fight against proposed fire district legislation.

"Their [fire districts] business plan is starting to erode," said Lehan. "We're going to go after this in every single community. When the government is trying to creep into your business, we will be there for you."

Multiple security monitoring firms (including lead plaintiff ADT Security Services, Boca Raton, Fla.) countered a proposed ordinance initiated by the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District, which resulted in the court issuing a preliminary injunction ordering the District to cease its fire alarm monitoring program. IESA believes that the proposed legislation will be written to fill certain gaps pointed out by the judge in this case, including: the District Act contains no authority to engage in the fire alarm monitoring business; and the District act bars the district from charging a fee to its residents for any services.

According to Dick Lockhart, IESA's lobbyist, the IESA will work to overpower the bill municipalities are proposing before it gets to the Senate.

The IESA plans to send out a fact sheet to all security industry associates (in addition to the 600+ licensed alarm contractors in Illinois) regarding onerous legislation it opposes. The IESA fact sheet will be e-mailed after the bill is introduced and IESA's attorneys and lobbyists have reviewed the language to identify the areas that would negatively impact our industry the most. Once recipients have a copy of the IESA fact sheet, they are asked to contact their elected state officials to explain how this bill would hurt their business.

Inside Look at Municipal Alarm Monitoring

The crux of the meeting hit those in attendance hard after Nick Bonifas, business development, Alarm Detection Systems, Aurora, Ill., showed a video clip of a taped meeting in which city and fire district officials discussed costs associated with accounts that would be taken over by municipalities from private alarm monitoring companies. Bonifas said the video clip, collected through extensive research under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was proof positive municipalities and fire districts are after accounts and business, need money, are misrepresenting central monitoring stations and continue to spread their message.

Wireless: Ready for Commercial Prime-Time

Visonic Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel, unveiled new wireless intrusion detection technology called PowerG(tm) that opens the door to more robust residential signaling and new applications in commercial markets.

Patent-pending, it addresses many of the challenges faced by wireless deployments: penetration through thick walls and ceilings and other infrastructures considered common in the commercial protected premises. It provides higher reliability and signal strength, near that of hardwired systems.

"This is a rare event, to announce new technology, so it's a real celebration for Visonic Ltd.," said Avi Barir, Visonic president and CEO. "It's something that comes around once in a decade. This innovation gives us the ability to further penetrate existing markets and to enter new ones." All the applications and products built around PowerG will have the installer and the end-user in mind. They will be user-friendly and allow for remote or local settings at the premises, the central station, cell phone or at home. For the installer it will also offer full diagnostics available from the cell phone or the monitoring station with usage statistics, 'state' of the device, etc. Barir said PowerG will allow four to five times more distance of communications, with higher security.