I am sure by now you have read that Bay Alarm purchased SDA Alarm in San Diego. We were pleased to have represented Bay Alarm in the transaction, but as the headline says, first, let me offer a little nostalgic look back on two outstanding companies.

SDA Alarm, better remembered as San Diego Alarm, was formed over 80 years ago by Harold Eales. The current president of SDA Alarm, Shandon Harbour, is the daughter of Rod Eales, who ran the company for many years and is the company founder’s son. Both Eales and Harbour have done an outstanding job of running the company, but decided that it was time to move on.

Bay Alarm was founded back in the late 1940s or early 1950s by Everett Westphal. When Westphal moved on, the company was taken over by his two sons, Roger and Bruce Westphal.

Roger and Bruce ran the company very successfully for many years, building Bay Alarm into, what I believe, is the largest independently owned alarm company in the United States.

As they moved on, their respective offspring, Matt and Graham, took over the company. They are still operating and successfully growing Bay Alarm. What do these two companies have in common? Both are very profitable and both are run by the third generation of the family—a rather incredible trait in today’s business climate It has been in my experience that over the years, although it is the intention of parents to leave a company to their offspring, it often does not work out. The children have different ideas and, as time moves on, the offspring and sometimes their spouses, who frequently have a say as to how a company should be run, conflict with their siblings. It is rare that there is a successful transition to a second generation, let alone to a third generation, particularly where there is more than one offspring involved. Bay Alarm is now the survivor of the two third-generation family-run businesses in California. I would not be very surprised to see a fourth generation in the Westphal family ultimately taking over operation and management of the company.

What makes a company successful? Vision, patience, and the adherence to a good business plan. Most important, there also must be an excellent management team. A successful company must also be properly capitalized and it must offer a well-marketed and excellent product or service. A successful management team will make certain that the company provides top-notch service; knows how to deal with its employees and customers; is good at selling its service and products at a profit; and creates a business plan and adheres to it.

Another indication of how a company becomes successful is its team’s willingness to share their team’s ideas as to how to make the industry better. The Westphals and the Eales (Harbour) have participated in all of the industry associations and have been involved with regulatory agencies and government to help regulate and improve the quality of their industry.

Harbour has been involved with the San Diego Association, the California Alarm Association (CAA), and the Central Station Alarm Association. Not only have the Westphals been involved with these associations at every level, but each of the Westphals has been a president of the CAA or its predecessors.

I commend the management team of SDA Alarm Company for the fine job they have done over the years and for recognizing when it was time to move on. I wish them success in their future endeavors. My congratulations to the Westphal family for another outstanding acquisition and for the tremendous job they've done managing Bay Alarm.

Q: What is the duty or responsibility of the police to respond to an alarm called in by an alarm company?

A: The duty to respond is determined by the law of the jurisdiction having authority over the policing agency and by the principle of sovereign immunity. The police have no responsibility to respond unless there is a particular municipal ordinance, which requires them to respond. There is case law, however, to the effect that once the police undertake the responsibility to respond, then there is a duty to use reasonable care and to respond in accordance with their prescribed practices. Under the theory of sovereign immunity, policing agencies are absolved from any responsibility unless, of course, they undertake the responsibility and do not exercise reasonable care or do not adhere to prescribed practices, in which case there are instances where police or police agencies have been held responsible.

 To ask Les Gold a question, e-mail sdm@bnpmedia.com.