DET. ROBINSON ON LICENSING / ILLEGAL DISPATCH TO PD / GENERAL STUPIDITY
I have a suggested caption for you to use when you post this:
Does the security industry really need a sign in the bathroom that says wash your hands after using the toilet?
It was glad to see Alan Glasser from METROPOLITAN BURGLAR & FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, INC. comment about the requirements for the locksmith / access control license issue. It is pretty much the same in Arizona and other cities with an alarm business license requirement. If the access control is being used to supervise a protected space and it results in a call for police dispatch then it meets the definition of an alarm system and all companies, technicians, or central stations involved with that system must be licensed as required including the user if the city has a user permit requirement. False alarm dispatches from access control systems are counted just the same as if they came from a dedicated burg alarm control panel.
On the subject of access control, I have an inspection scheduled next month with a major alarm company that has a national contract with an insurance carrier for access control / premise security. They sold the combined access control / burg panel security system with it set up to dispatch PD on “door prop” events. They programmed the access control output for “door force” and “door propped” on each door using the same relay to a single zone on the burg panel for each door that is being reported to the central station for PD dispatch as a burglary zone.
Keep in mind that on a door propped open in access control you know what user ID was used to open the door which indicates a known person with authority to open that door is on site and that they failed to secure the door behind them. Now I’m having to go out and inspect an alarm system where most, if not all, of the false alarms were from door props because of the way the system was designed by the alarm company and explain to the alarm user that it is illegal for their alarm company to install a system that is configured like this. Hope they are happy customers.
After much conversation with the alarm company about the police resources that are wasted on door prop alarms where the janitor is taking out the trash, the employees propped the door to carry in their load of food for the holiday party, or holds the door open for other employees behind them as a courtesy, etc. they finally understood that it is not the responsibility of the local police to babysit the known employee who did not close the door in time. Door prop is a non-critical “supervisory” event to be used for notification of the RP that the known user failed to close and secure the door. Tell the management of the company to fix the problem with their employees, not PD.
What really shocked me was that the lead programmer for the alarm company argued that no other police agency across the U.S. (they are a large company with a national footprint) ever told them it was illegal to dispatch the PD on a supervisory event such as a door prop, so in essence that makes it OK to program them that way. I guess he expected me to agree with him that it makes it OK to overlook best practices because, as he explained, they sold the system with that set up because it was cheaper than adding a second set of relays for each door so that the “door prop” could be reported on a separate zone as a supervisory event. So, like that makes more sense??? DUH, any money saved has now been spent on false alarm fines, inspection fees, and paying a subcontractor for additional truck rolls to correct the situation. Is the alarm company going to comp these expenses, take back the sales commissions or pass the bill to the customer that hired a "security professional" to design the system that supposedly works best for them? How ethical is your security company??
Really, that was his argument. Then he passed the buck because he told me he only programs the systems the way his cut sheet tells him no matter how stupid of an agreement the salesman made with the customer. I guess they don’t practice checks and balances in their company that allow a programmer to tell a salesman that you don’t do stupid stuff like this, go back and sell them another set of relays for the door props and do it the right way.
You know how you think of a really good comeback after the opportunity to use it has passed during the debate. Well, I thought of this, does the security industry really need a sign in the bathroom that says wash your hands after using the toilet? Or rather, does a city have to pass an ordinance that makes it illegal for an alarm company to call for police dispatch on non-critical supervisory events?? I guess so, because you see signs in the bathroom all of the time reminding people to use common sense and a little courtesy. Anyone want a “handshake” from someone who does not use common sense? Disgusting to think about isn’t it? So go wash your hands and come back to finish reading this...
That is why I am proud to say that since I became the alarm inspector for Phoenix PD I made sure our alarm code in Phoenix says that it is illegal to dispatch PD on non-critical supervisory events. Because I have seen the dirty little hands… That’s why I’m working with the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and the Az Alarm Association Public Safety Committee to expose as many alarm coordinators as I can from AHJ's across the country to security industry negligence and make sure that laws like this get put into the local alarm ordinance.
Ya think common sense, best practices written by the industry in partnership with law enforcement, ANSI / UL / SIA standards and PD agencies going to non response would be enough to get the message across….
Just like the former VP Manager of a large third party central station with a huge dealer program that told me their company refuses to use Enhanced Call Verification (ECV or ECC) on all accounts as a best practice unless I put ECV in law in our alarm code that requires them to follow ECV because they have customers with special needs. Big talk, and no surprise because even after ECV was written in our code, they still fail to use ECV as required in Phoenix because of issues with their CMS software and programming multi RP attempts prior to PD dispatch.
I am really looking forward to digital alarm dispatching (ASAP to PSAP) where we can close the digital gate and block companies like this from using PD unless they comply with the alarm code. No ECV, sorry, no digital dispatch. Especially once large PSAP’s like Phoenix mandate digital alarm dispatch only. That means no more landline dispatching for central monitoring stations. Imagine that??? Welcome to the digital age! Gee, I wonder, if you can't even change your CMS software to accommodate ECV in Phoenix, you better hope your CMS software can support digital alarm dispatching, or is it going away with the sunset like the POTS and 2G cellular?
The shining knight in this story was the outstanding central station, who’s leadership works really hard to improve the industry’s relationship with the law enforcement community by following local AHJ codes / best practices / standards, because they immediately shut down PD dispatch until it could be corrected once I told them that the alarm company was sending door props as burg events to their central.
KUDOS, You know who you are, THANKS!!!
Detective H.W."Robbie" Robinson #5002
Phoenix Police Code Enforcement Unit