Are Customers Getting a Legal Security System?

Monitoring services, private security companies and the people who work for them must be licensed by the Regulatory Services Section of the Arkansas State Police.

The Rapid Response Monitoring Service is licensed in Arkansas, as are those used by other legitimate local and national companies doing business here. Regulations say that licensed companies must include that fact in promotional information and advertising.Companies also must get a permit from city governments that require it.

Problems have occurred for people who bought install-it-yourself security systems from an Internet retailer that claims to have a choice of monitoring services.

We checked a half-dozen monitoring services listed on Web sites with the state police, and found that none had an Arkansas license.

That means it's illegal and impossible to use that monitoring service.

One Internet retailer claimed a wireless system it was selling "automatically calls 16 phone numbers when the alarm is activated." If you buy and install it, you'll be putting those on your 16-number list in danger if you expect them to hurry to your house to see if a burglary is in progress. And if local police or other emergency services are on your list, they as well as friends and neighbors will rapidly get tired of responding to false alarms.

"I wish people would call us before they buy a system," says Cpl. Ricky Briggs of regulatory services with the Arkansas State Police. "A lot of times people will buy the equipment and get themselves locked into a [long] contract with an unlicensed [monitoring] company. We'll be happy to call the company and ask if they want to get a license and send them the form, but they usually don't want to. So you've lost your money." So before you buy equipment or sign a monitoringservice contract, check that the monitoring company has an Arkansas license. Or call the Regulatory Services Section of the Arkansas State Police at (501) 618-8600.