[Editor's note: Michael McGregor is managing director of AMERIPRO Security, a security installing and monitoring firm in Dallas, Texas, which found a unique way to cope with the city's new verified response policy for commercial alarm systems. He shares his thoughts in a brief editorial to SecurityInfoWatch.com readers.]
For the record, three years before verified response was required in Dallas we began providing alarm response to businesses and residences who were not going to depend on 1-2 hour responses from an overtaxed and undermanned police department in Dallas. The alarm system users took it as a matter of course that they wanted an alternative and were willing to pay for it.
Since that point, we have maintained an 18-minute average response time anywhere in the city of Dallas. We have been successful enough that we are about to provide national response to several retailers across the country.
The "industry" forgets that years ago alarm firms provided "alarm runners" who would verify alarm signals. This occurred for years until alarm companies were able to get the city to respond to signals.
We currently provide yearly alarm response to responsible customers for less than the cost of monitoring. In our operations, 20 percent of the officers we are using are TCLOSE certified to the same standards the police are trained. The remaining officers are certified in handcuffing and O/C spray to the same standards as the police; they are also Level 3 commissioned officers by the Texas Department of Public Safety Private Security Board.
Granted, alarm response will never be profitable by itself, but as an added service supplied by existing patrol companies working together, it can meet a vital need of the community. Right or wrong the city passed the verified response policy, and as managing director of an alarm company operating in that city, I have to agree that a quality solution was needed by the businesses and residents of Dallas.