Comments On Roy Pollack's Remarks / Power Supplies / Experts - October 22, 2015
Your next legal consult can be from across your desk.  I am now available on oovoo so that a consultation can include real time video.  We can each be looking at the same documents at the same time as the video consult.  What do you need?  Any cheap camera plugged into your computer will suffice.  Then you sign into and "friend" me.  While the video service is free, not all consults are, so check with our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda 5167747 6700 x 312 if you want to set up an appointment.  She also is available on oovoo for video conferencing to discuss your contract needs.  Why video?  You'll feel like you're sitting in my office, from wherever you are.  Only difference, no travel or waiting time.  Try it.
     I was wondering if you could enlighten us all, on what planet does Roy Pollack install security systems?  Maybe his reading comprehension is just lacking a bit.  In my prior email, in my very first statement about Det. Robinson, I stated that  I have ALWAYS supported law enforcement.  And while I made a comment that was certainly not complimentary about Det. Robinson, that was certainly not a slam on all law enforcement.  And even if I did, I would not live in fear that the police would scrutinize my work any more than any other alarm company.  Let me tell you something that I know:  if any police department shows a pattern of being anything but impartial about how they enforce local ordinances or state laws, they would wind up on the losing end of a lawsuit.  And this is not a "shot across the bow" made as a warning.  We live in a litigious society, and if nothing else, the police are always the ones who fight fair.  
     Mr. Pollack unknowingly stated the problem in a nutshell.  THERE IS NO STANDARD FOR UNSUPERVISED POWER SUPPLIES.  This is a very competitive business.  I don't know of anyone in the business who as a rule buys only the most expensive equipment they can find.  If you are bidding on jobs competitively, you won't win many if any contracts. My company only uses equipment of the highest quality and often, there isn't a great deal of difference in price between high quality equipment that that being of a mediocre grade.  If when putting an estimate together, and you do your battery calculations, you realize that you need say an additional 500mAH's of power, you wouldn't bid the job using a 10 Amp power supply where say a 5Amp power supply would suffice. 
     False alarm reduction has been a joint effort by alarm installers, central stations and various municipal and state agencies.  And all of the various theories that have been applied have helped.  I now use cross zoning wherever practical.  Many central monitoring stations now use Enhanced Call Verification, where they will call the premise and at least one other telephone number prior to dispatching the police.  But there are problems there as well.  I have a customer who mistakenly removed a Carbon Monoxide detector from her basement ceiling.  The unit signaled a tamper to the control which in turn sent the signal to the central station.  The central station contacted the fire department and the operator clearly stated it was a "Tamper Signal" received from the CO detector.  The local FD rolled three pieces of fire apparatus to the woman's house.  She received a summons for the false alarm (it was in December, and was her only false alarm that year) and in that town the fine is based on how many pieces of fire equipment rolled to the scene.  That town charges $100.00 per piece of equipment.  So she paid a $300.00 fine which is outrageous.  Clearly, if it was a smoke detector that had been tripped, or if this was a continual issue with her it might have made sense .  But a tamper signal from a CO detector should not prompt any more than a "chief's car" or code enforcement vehicle to be dispatched.  And as you can probably guess, the woman was initially upset with my company.  It wasn't until I reminded her that she was instructed to always contact the central station BEFORE testing her alarm system or changing any batteries.  She admitted finally that is was her bad.  Had she called me prior to paying the fine, I would have advised her to fight the summons and would have gladly gone to court with her to plead her case.  I felt that was an abuse of authority on the ! part of the FD.  As this scenario shows, false alarms happen.  It is unfortunate that Mr. Pollack lost a "brother firefighter" who was responding to a false alarm.  While it is sad, why the hell would any police or fire agency drive hell bent for election to an address where there are known false alarm issues?  Police and Fire Departments are still obliged to obey the motor vehicle laws.  I know in NJ, the only government agency that does not have to obey the motor vehicle laws, are the military and that would only be during times of war or insurrection.  This gets back to the "spirit of the law," and the "letter of the law."  Alarm ordinances were written encourage people to maintain their security systems, not punish someone who may be having a problem.  Municipalities who only allow one false alarm per calendar year before that resident enters the fine schedule are unrealistic.  I'm of the opinion that if a device becomes defective for whatever reason, and two false alarms are generated in a short period of time (days, not weeks or months,) the resident or business owner presenting the repair bill and maybe even the defective device to the code enforcement agency should reset the false alarm number to zero.  Many of these ordinances have people afraid to use their security systems.  Having a burglar alarm and not using it is like not having one.
     Getting back to Mr. Pollack's theory of Det. Robinson's expertise.  I question that.  The only letters associated with Robinson's name are Det. which does not indicate any form of certification, other than he is a police detective (and don't get me wrong, in most police agencies, you reach the rank of detective by doing exemplary police work.)  Some people like to read code books, most do not.  People in this industry go to training seminars, so that they are educated as to what the codes specify and how they are interpreted by code officials.  I don't know Det. Robinson.  I have nothing good or bad to say about him, other than the fact that being a police detective in no way makes him an expert in our field.  Mr. Zwirn is a different story.  When you teach theory and practical applications in an industry, and have authored a book about it, I would say that would make you an expert in that field.
     Mr Pollack is far more critical of our industry than most people who have replied to these emails.  I get the impression that Mr Pollack likes to read code books, and maybe that is why he is so enamored with Det. Robinson.  I have to sit through the CEU classes to maintain my licenses, and in many of the classes, theory is discussed much more often than  practical application.  And Mr Pollack should realize that we aren't "lucky" that we can call an FD or PD and ask them to respond to an address to see if our alarm systems are working.  THAT is part of their job.  And I resent his implication that if we had to respond, maybe we would do a better job of installing our systems.  I guess Mr. Pollack (if he has ever even installed a security system) never had a customer who had a kids party at their house and the next day a few of the Mylar balloons that were left floating around wandered in front of a motion detector, tripping the alarm.  Or some time after the installation, an exterior door moved out of adjustment and caused a false alarm.  Or how about (as we have seen recently) equipment that is of good quality just fails for no good reason.  If Mr. Pollack can explain why any of that is our fault in this industry, I'm all ears.  It sounds very much to me like he lives in his little bubble world of all theory, and no practical application.  
     As much as what I write in these emails is often controversial, I feel fortunate that I have the time to sit down and respond to some of those who snipe from behind their computer screens when in actuality, are not likely to know which end of a screwdriver to hold.  In a perfect world, there would be no false alarms.  There would be no equipment that ever fails.  But as the rest of us who live in the real world know, that world isn't reality.  Part of what sells security systems for me, is I tell people that I sell it, install it and maintain it.  I am involved in every installation, and almost all calls for service.  Just based on this, you can see where it wouldn't pay for me to do shoddy work or use sub standard equipment.  While it might be fun to batter this subject back and forth much like the "Normally Open," "Normally Closed" debate, I do have to get some work done today.
    I remain as always,
John from NJ

    For Roy Pollack from Comcast  --  people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.  The 12,000 plus companies who represent about 45% of our alarm industry revenue are far more likely to produce quality workmanship with integrity, as opposed to some of the biggest players who actively fund dealer programs with the “lick and stick” mentality, or utilities (like Roy’s) who can and do produce some of the most egregious installs I have ever seen (like PIR’S set on the floor next to end tables or perched on top of TV’s).