The main topic of discussion at this year’s annual meeting of the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) was fire departments and city officials across Illinois attempting to cut out central stations and become their own dispatchers. Ed Bonifas, vice president of Aurora, Ill.-based Alarm Detection Systems (ADS), talked about cities that had passed legislation requiring commercial customers to have their monitoring contracts directly through the fire protection districts.

“It’s not a stretch for cities to think that if they can do fire, why not do burglary. It’s all about the money for the municipalities,” Bonifas said. “The will steal your business without any compensation if they take away your recurring contracts.”

The association told members that fire department bodies are expected to introduce legislation in Springfield in January 2011 that would allow for possible statewide government involvement in alarm monitoring. Lobbyists representing the fire bodies and the security industry plan to meet this month to review the wording of the proposed legislation. After this, IESA will have a better idea of what exactly is being proposed and will communicate the proposal in more detail to the alarm industry and IESA members, according to Bonifas.

Bonifas and others made it clear that a call-to-action was the best way to combat the issue. The association hopes to contest the fire bodies’ proposals with a grassroots campaign that reaches all involved legislators before the January time frame. For more information about IESA and how you can get involved in the campaign, visit or call 630-305-8800.