The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) has announced it is continuing its support of the Georgia Electric Life Safety and Systems Association (GELSSA), A-Com Security and Safecom Security Solutions in their petition challenging an alarm ordinance in Sandy Springs, Ga.
The plaintiffs — GELSSA, A-Com and Safecom — seek a rehearing before a three-judge panel. The legal challenge is organized by SIAC, which has managed all aspects in the suit, from hiring a law firm to fundraising.
“This case raises an issue that potentially could impact numerous businesses,” said SIAC Executive Director Stan Martin. “The ruling makes it far too easy for a government entity to hold a business responsible for the actions of its customers even if the business does not have a responsible relationship with the customer’s conduct.”
The alarm ordinance, first adopted in 2012 and revised in 2017, places fines on the alarm companies for the calls, reasoning that it is the alarm company placing the call to request public safety dispatch. Since the ordinance became effective, alarm companies have been subjected to tens of thousands of dollars in civil penalties due to alarm users who have caused “false alarms,” which are determined by the city and billed by Cry Wolf Services, the city’s third-party alarm administrator.
The move comes after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a controversial ordinance enacted by the city of Sandy Springs, Ga. that fines alarm companies for false alarms generated by their customers in July of this year. The original challenge to the law was rejected by a lower federal court in 2018.
“SIAC continues 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,” Martin said.