Wednesday, December 10, 2008
North Carolina’s Dangerous Alarm Licensing Loophole
Citizens of North Carolina should beware their safety could be placed at risk by alarm companies more interested in profit than public safety. Security System and Alarm Companies in North Carolina are required by law to register each new applicant within twenty days of their hire date. All applicants are required to submit finger prints and a criminal background check from the counties they have live in over the past 48 months. The intent of this law is to protect the general public from having a convicted criminal sell you an alarm system. The alarm board allows twenty days for applicant’s paperwork to be submitted to give the companies adequate time to get everything processed and mailed to the board for approval. Many alarm and security system installation companies abuse this provision by allowing applicants to go into people’s homes before they know if the person has a criminal background or not. In cases where the applicant has moved from another state and applies to work for a North Carolina Alarm Company the applicant is required to submit a criminal background for their current county they reside, immediately. The applicant must send off for the other criminal background checks for addresses they have lived at over the past 48 months and submit them with their paperwork to the board. This must be done within twenty days. According to the provisions of the alarm board of North Carolina, an applicant can file for an extension for ten days, and as much as 40 days if they are military and lived overseas. There is a delay from the time that the board receives the paperwork and reviews it. Due to the backlog of applicant filings this may take several months. A criminal could easily work in the alarm industry for twenty to ninety days before being required by law to stop. Another reason some alarm companies attempt to skirt the licensing requirements is due to the fact that each new application must be accompanied with a $45 application fee. Due to the one or two day factory training methods of many alarm and security companies and the commission only compensation plans these companies do not want to invest in employees who they know are not likely to be employed even two weeks later.
Companies like ADT who use the opportunity knocks program where they hire people under the false pretence of general labor to empty a warehouse, and Apex Security, that recruits college students from other states to peddle their wares, are some of the biggest offenders. Homeowners considering a home security should not only check on the security company to make sure it is licensed but should also require the actual badge from the alarm licensing board. The yellow paper that proves that the paperwork has been submitted is not enough, because you could still be face to face with a convicted felon. No one would knowingly allow a burglar or sex offender in their home. The current alarm licensing procedure needs to be overhauled, requiring actual approval from the board before an applicant can work. This will assure greater protection for the public at large.
When considering an alarm or security system in North Carolina, know who you are dealing with. Search online for information about that individual. If they are a professional you will be able to find them on linkedin.com. Ask for their current North Carolina Alarm license. Check the Better Business Bureau and ask for references. When it comes to the safety and security of a family or business you should demand accountability for, competence, and professionalism. A person would never trust a doctor with two days or one week training and a suspect license to operate on them. A security or burglar alarm protects the lives of those you care about the most and trusting their safety to a novice with questionable credentials shouldn’t be done either.