State-specific certs stress monitoring company budgets

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Friday, August 1, 2003

PORTLAND, Ore. - Monitoring companies had until July 31 to ensure that their central station employees were trained by a certified Oregon instructor or face hefty fines. For out-of-state companies doing business in states that require such certification, the financial burden can be staggering, according to Ann Chaffin, the training coordinator at Network Multifamily Corp., Irving, Texas.

“When you feel that you have this thing cornered or nipped in the bud, so to speak, it seems that every different state wants to come up with a different statute, and then you’re out of pocket hundreds if not thousands of dollars, trying to get your central station certified through that particular state,” she said.

In May, the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training notified executive managers of all the out-of-state alarm monitoring companies with operations in Oregon that they would be required to have a state of Oregon certified alarm monitor instructor provide training to meet the state’s certification. Since that time, the Security Industry Association and Central Station Alarm Association have worked with DPSST to meet the deadline.

While the Security Industry Association’s Central Station Operator/Instructor course is accepted nationwide, Oregon is the latest of 10 states that require operators and instructors to obtain a special license, according to Elaine Dixon, education services coordinator for SIA. The others are New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina and Louisiana.

To meet the Oregon deadline, Chaffin went so far as to arrange for a certified instructor from Oregon DPSST to travel to Irving on July 29 for a training session, presented in conjunction with SIA.

“Had we not put together this class here in Irving, it would have cost us a phenomenal amount of money to fly our people to Oregon to be certified,” Chaffin said.

Oregon, for one, uses state-specific certification as a way of ensuring that out-of-state entities such as monitoring companies deal with public safety entities in a uniform manner, said one DPSST official who asked not to be named.

Chaffin said while costs for these programs are high, Network Multifamily will continue to bear them in order to serve its customers in those states, and will continue to work with SIA and CSAA on developing ways to meet certification policies more cost-efficiently.