Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Six fire-alarm monitoring companies have sued the village of Schaumburg over a recent law directing all of the approximately 1,200 businesses in town to the governmental agency Northwest Central Dispatch and its own private contractor for their alarm monitoring.

The plaintiffs argue that the law approved last August creates a government-backed monopoly for one business, as well as raising the costs for all its customers.

Schaumburg Fire Chief David Schumann said recent examples of unreliability among private monitoring systems exceed his comfort level. As Northwest Central Dispatch must be contacted for any emergency in the village, he came to conclude that the fewer steps involved in a 9-1-1 call, the more streamlined and safe the process is.

Over a 15-month period before last year’s policy change, the Schaumburg Fire Department documented 31 instances of unreliability among private alarm and sprinkler systems. Among the problems were systems that caused a 10- to 12-minute delay in contacting the fire department.

Elk Grove Village-based SMG Security Systems Inc. is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Its owner and president, John Reidy, said Schumann’s arguments can sound logical to a layman but less so to those in the industry. Purely from a financial perspective, the monthly cost to his current customers in Schaumburg will increase from $25 to $80 as a result of the policy change.

Also named as defendants in the suit are Northwest Central Dispatch and its contractor, Tyco Integrated Security.

John Ferraro, executive director of Northwest Central Dispatch, said the other 10 municipalities his agency serves  have had policies similar to Schaumburg’s new one for decades. He never heard any outcry or experienced any legal action until Schaumburg joined them.

Schaumburg’s Assistant Village Attorney Howard Jablecki said the village believes a home-rule municipality has even greater authority to make such decisions than the fire protection districts that have been sued in the past.

One Schaumburg stands alone on the village board in his belief that steep fines against the alarm companies could have handled the issues of unreliability as effectively as the policy change that was enacted. 

thanks Scott