Alabama cracks down on security companies

ADT, local independent among companies fined for violating state licensure law
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Friday, March 1, 2002

MOBILE, Ala.-An installation company was forced to shut down and more than 66 employees at another were fined for failing to comply with the state's licensure law, the first significant levying of fines under the three-year-old legislation.

ABC Security of Gulf Shores, Ala., was ordered to cease operation until it could meet the requirements of the law, said Lynne Taunton, executive secretary of the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure. At the ADT branch in Mobile, 66 service technicians and sales people were fined $500 each for working nearly all of 2001 without licensure from the state board. The fines, which could have been as steep as $1,000 per person, totaled $33,000. ADT officials were unable to comment by press time.

Taunton said companies are notified well in advance that they are out of compliance with the law, which requires companies to maintain commercial liability insurance and certain training requirements, such as the National Training School Level One or a Board of Licensure approved test.

"They are given up to three notices that are spaced out over a three-month period in which they are given ample opportunity to comply," Taunton said. "Then after that time, if they've made no effort and we're not seeing any kind of action being taken by the company, we turn it over to our state Attorney General's Office for collection."

The board had to turn over ABC Security's case to the Attorney General's Office, who filed a civil complaint against the company in the state's Baldwin County Circuit Court. The court ordered the company to close in December. Attempts to contact ABC Security for this story were unsuccessful.

"If and when they are able to meet the actual licensing requirements, they will have to appear before the board in order for the board to review all the facts and situations involved," Taunton said.

Alabama is one of at least 35 states that currently require licensure for alarm companies. It costs a corporation or a branch office $200 a year and a self-proprietorship $150 a year for a state license; positions such as sales and technicians cost $25 each. Each company's qualifying agent costs $75 per year.