Security Systems News

February 2011

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28 RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS FEBRUARY 2011 SECURITY SYSTEMS NEWS Former director charged Illinois ESA is missing $30,000, authorities say By Daniel Gelinas WEST ALLIS, Wis.—Former Illinois Electronic Security Association executive direc- tor Marsha Kopan on Dec. 29 was officially charged by the Wisconsin District Attorney’s office with three class G felony counts of theft in an amount greater than $10,000 and two class H felony counts of forgery. The charges revolve around her third-party management of three associations, including the IESA. Kopan declined to comment on the charges. Kopan has been the focus of an ongoing criminal investiga- tion that began when the West Allis police arrested her on Sept. 24 on charges of forgery and fraudulent check writing by a trustee. Detective Jeff Nohelty of the West Allis Criminal Investigation Department told Security Systems News he com- pleted examining all seized evidence, and on Dec. 6 brought possible charges to Assistant DA Kurt Bentley. “The criminal complaints have been signed,” Nohelty said, noting that the next step was a pretrial court appearance for Kopan. “She’ll either retain her own lawyer or apply for a public defender at that time.” Kopan’s initial court appear- ance was set for Jan. 6. Following Kopan’s arrest, Emergency 24 public rela- tions manager Kevin Lehan took over executive director duties for the IESA. He said the association’s business is on track. “We’ve got 2011 dues roll- ing in. We’re paying bills and moving forward,” he said. According to Nohelty, his investigation found that funds totaling $403,000 had been embezzled from the three associations, around $30,000 of which came from the IESA. Nohelty said Kopan cooper- ated with authorities during the entire investigation. SSN Pinnacle touts culture shift By Tess Nacelewicz OREM, Utah—Pinnacle Security COO Steve Hafen says Pinnacle has designated 2011 as “the year of the customer.” He said everyone in the sum- mer-model company will explore ways to increase customer satisfaction. Hafen told Security Systems News recently that being more custom- er-focused is just one of the efforts that Pinnacle, based here, has been making to improve its image, which Hafen said has been “unfairly tainted” by events in the past. The company admits there were issues with licensing and “rogue” door-knocking sales staff in 2009, when the company saw its “A+” Steve Hafen rating from the Better Business Bureau drop to an “F.” Hafen said that occurred during a period of “explosive” growth for Pinnacle, which turns 10 years old in 2011 and currently has about 160,000 accounts nationwide. However, Hafen said Pinnacle now is focused on working to convince the Better Business Bureau to improve its rating because of changes the company instituted in 2010. “We’ve evolved,” Hafen told SSN. “We recognized we needed to get on top of things as a company. We’re still not perfect but compared to 2009, we’re at a different place.” He said such efforts as a company-wide cultural shift to Kenco acquires Anchor By Tess Nacelewicz BILLINGS, Mont.—Kenco Security and Technology, an elec- tronic security services company based here and providing ser- vices in Montana and Wyoming, recently acquired Anchor Alarms of Kalispell, Mont. Dirk Bauwens, president of Kenco, said in a statement that Kenco already had a presence in northwestern Montana so this was a chance to acquire a company in its “home playing field.” He told Security Systems News: “Our goal, I guess, is don’t let an opportunity pass by and that’s exactly the way we looked at this.” emphasize an employee code of ethics and the implementation of new ways to monitor employ- ees’ behavior have resulted in dramatically fewer customer complaints. In fact, he said, most Pinnacle customers are happy with the company. Hafen cited a recent Pinnacle survey, in which 89 percent of its customers gave the company a rating of 8 or higher (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best). Pinnacle is spreading word of its new image in the communities where it does business around the country, Hafen said. Too often, he said, Pinnacle enters a new market only to find a “media blitz” taking place, focus- ing on its poor BBB rating. SHIFT see page 29 Oregon company grows By Tess Nacelewicz BEAVERTON, Ore.—First Response Systems, a full ser- vice installation, monitoring and response company with accounts throughout Oregon and Washington, recently acquired Northwest Sound & Security of Portland, Ore., a competitor for 12 years. “This acquisition was really to gain RMR and boost market share,” Jesse Foglio, systems manager for First Response, told Security Systems News. First Response, which is a family-owned business based here and with about 200 employees, started 22 years ago, and is a Honeywell First Alert authorized deal- er installing burglary, fire, access control and video systems. First Response also has a Five Diamond, UL certified central sta- tion. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Foglio said the acquisition, which took place Jan. 1, came as the company concentrates its efforts closer to home. First Response this summer sold its branch office in Seattle, which opened in 1997. The company kept its accounts in Washington, but now contracts out the service work for them, Foglio said. That sale, Foglio Jesse Foglio said, “freed up cash flow for us to focus on what we really wanted: to buy a com- pany that was right in our backyard, which Northwest Sound was.” Northwest decided to sell because the owner of that OREGON see page 30 He declined to discuss terms of the Dec. 1 acquisition of Anchor, but said the addition of the com- pany’s office, four employees For a more robust version of stories in this section, see: WWW.SECURITYSYSTEMSNEWS.COM n and approximately 800 mostly residential accounts would help Kenco grow its commercial and residential sides. Kenco, started in 1973, has about 65 employees and 10,000 customers, 60 percent of them commercial and the rest residen- tial. The company designs, sells, installs and services burglar and fire alarm systems—about 20 percent of its business is fire—and its other services include access control and CCTV. In addition to its Billings office, where it also has a 24-hour moni- toring center, Kenco has offices in Bozeman, Helena, and Great Falls, Mont., as well as Cody, Wyo. The owners of Anchor Alarms, founded more than 25 years ago, are retiring, Bauwens said. He said Kenco will retain the company’s employees who will continue to work out of their former Anchor office, which will be now be Kenco’s new Kalispell office. The Kalispell office will also be strengthened with support from Kenco’s other offices, the company said. Anchor was about 90 per- cent residential, Bauwens said. He said Kenco’s clients in the Kalispell area have been largely commercial franchise chains, such as Applebee’s. SSN BRIEFS ADT to hold security & technology road shows BOCA RATON, Fla.—ADT Security Services will be offering a series of secu- rity solutions and technology road shows from January through June in major cities in North America to address the security challenges facing the industry. Topics will include managed video ser- vices, and the most recent developments in video surveillance technology, access control and mass notification. Attendees can talk to ADT and its technology partners, which include Cisco, Motorola, Pelco, Honeywell, and American Dynamics. The road shows will be held in the following cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto and Boston. For more information and to register, visit: Info/Summary.aspx?e=98a12858-6066- 4165-854e-486390ed5b22 Security worries prompt smart meter opt out PORTLAND, Maine—Central Maine Power will allow customers to temporarily opt out of the smart meter installation cur- rently underway in its service area, after a customer complained her new wireless digital meter shut down her security sys- tem, according to a local television sta- tion. WCSH 6 in Portland reported recently that a woman complained the meter caused her wireless security system to turn off frequently and increased her util- ity bill by $37. CMP said residents may temporar- ily opt out of the installation or get their old meters back, the station reported. It said Maine’s Public Utilities Commission is looking at whether customers will be able to opt out permanently. CMP has started replacing all of its 620,000 meters with smart meters to improve service and save money, and says customers opting out creates a void in the grid, the station said. Favorable forecast for security industry SAN JOSE, Calif.—A new strategic mar- ket research report, announced in January by Global Industry Analysts, says techno- logical innovation, increased concerns about crime, and the greater affordabil- ity of security systems and services are all factors driving growth in the security industry. The report, titled “Alarm Monitoring Services: A Global Strategic Business Report,” predicts that the global alarm market will reach $43.3 billion by 2015. One reason for that, the report states, is that “security systems are fast becoming lifestyle products for the consumers, thus opening [a] new high- end market for the manufacturers and service providers.”

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