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The Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association Receives Appellate Hearing on Challenge to Sandy Springs Fining Alarm Companies

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The Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association Receives Appellate Hearing on Challenge to Sandy Springs Fining Alarm Companies

Frisco, Texas (February 7, 2020) - The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held a hearing on a lawsuit challenging Sandy Springs, Georgia’s right to fine alarm companies for false alarms generated by their customers. The original challenge to the law was rejected by a lower Federal court in 2018. The Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association (GELSSA), A-Com Security Co. LLP and Safecom Security Solutions Inc. filed a notice of appeal. The legal challenge was organized by the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) which has managed all aspects of the effort, from hiring the law firm to raising funds necessary for the effort.

“While the vast majority of our work involves a positive partnership with law enforcement leaders, Sandy Springs has been a rare exception,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “Sandy Springs sets a bad precedent for our industry and public safety in general, which is why we are working so hard to overturn the ordinance.”   

In the district court, GELSSA and the alarm companies  argued that this civil fine scheme was not rationally related to a legitimate government interest—and therefore unconstitutional—because alarm companies do not have any sort of “master-servant” or “principal-agent” relationship with alarm users and are not in a position to supervise, direct or control the actions of their customers.

Since the ordinance became effective, alarm companies have been subjected to tens of thousands of dollars in civil penalties for the actions of alarm users who have caused “false alarms” as determined by the City and billed by Cry Wolf Services, the city’s third-party alarm administrator.

“We can’t allow this type of ordinance to become the industry norm,” said Scott Hightower, GELSSA President. “Passing customer fines on to alarm companies cannot be an option on the table when discussing alarm management.” 

“While a ruling on the appeal may be months away, SIAC is working closely with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to promote the model ordinance it helped create in partnership with leaders in the law enforcement community,” said Martin. “When you consider that the cost of fighting a single bad ordinance can easily run into the six figures, supporting SIAC’s work at the local and national level remains a wise investment.

“Extreme proposals such as fining alarm companies or requiring verification before police will respond to alarms is not on the table when a community is reducing unnecessary dispatches using the model ordinance,” said Martin. “More than 1,000 communities nationwide are currently using the principles of the model ordinance and that number continues to grow steadily each year.”

Media Contact:
The Margulies Communications Group (214) 914-1275


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