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Federal Protection service technician Joe Carl outlines a security system's features with B.J. Jones, director of security for Family Pharmacy, which upgraded its security in 2007 after 13 break-ins.
Federal Protection service technician Joe Carl outlines a security system's features with B.J. Jones, director of security for Family Pharmacy, which upgraded its security in 2007 after 13 break-ins.

Federal Protection fights crime with technology

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Rapidly progressing technology is changing myriad business sectors, and security systems aren’t immune.

“Technology drives the service we provide our customers,” said Kim Hancock, president and CEO of Federal Protection Inc. “By the time we get a product, it can be changed and upgraded to the new model in 90 days.”

Federal Protection, 2500 N. Airport Commerce Ave., installs security systems and provides monitoring services. The company has worked to stay ahead of the technological curve for the past 42 years, from a foundation built in the financial services sector.

The company was founded in 1969 by Hancock’s father, Mel Hancock, who was serving on a bank board when the federal government mandated a specific level of security for banks.

“When the regulations came out, all of the security companies raised their rates overnight,” Kim Hancock said. “My dad decided he could do it better and cheaper.”

When the younger Hancock joined the family business in 1974, there were just three employees, compared to 153 today. In 1991, Federal Protection began selling bank equipment such as vault doors, and in 1995, a separate company, Federal Construction Co., was founded to build new financial buildings. In 1997, Federal Protection began partnering with National Cash Register to install automated teller machines.

Though Federal Protection has expanded its service footprint to include jewelry stores, law offices, manufacturers and residences, business from financial institutions accounted for 70 percent of Federal Protection’s 2010 revenues, Mel Hancock said. Though he declined to disclose revenues, he noted that they were 2 percent higher than in 2009. Other commercial customers comprise 12 percent of revenues, with 18 percent in the residential sector, which also includes medical alert services.

From its 58,000-square-foot headquarters near the Springfield-Branson National Airport, the company’s Federal Response Center monitors clients’ alarm systems, and Hancock said the company also has a disaster recovery center at an undisclosed location. The company is licensed to monitor alarm systems in seven states.

Hancock said the company provides everything from typical hard-wired residential security systems to more elaborate systems such as those that monitor temperatures for storing blood at blood banks.

Some of the fastest-changing technology right now, Hancock said, is wireless technology that is being used more in residential jobs, as well as surveillance that allows business or homeowners to monitor their properties via smart phones.

Following 13 break-ins among its 29 locations during a six-month period, Family Pharmacy in 2007 decided to upgrade its security systems with Federal Protection, said B.J. Jones, director of security for the Ozark-based pharmacy chain.

Jones declined to disclose specifics about the stores’ security systems, other than to say that additions included biometrics and more surveillance with infrared censors to monitor vibration and motion.

“It added a layer of security they call an onion effect,” Jones said. “Anyone who does get in will not get anything they desire.”

Family Pharmacy’s security budget is roughly $300,000 for all of its stores.

“When we’ve had to cut back, they’ve always worked with us on pricing,” Jones said of Federal Protection. “They’ve made adjustments that have allowed them to remain competitive while maintaining our same level of security.”

Because the systems for commercial customers and the desired levels of service vary, Hancock declined to provide a price range for commercial customers, but he said residential systems typically cost between $700 and $1,400 for installation plus monthly monitoring fees.

While security might be a company’s primary reason for enlisting Federal Protection’s services, Hancock said more businesses also are installing high-resolution security cameras to help them defend workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuits.

Locally, burglaries have declined, according to crime data from the Springfield Police Department. In 2010, commercial burglaries were down to 543 from 580 in 2009, and residential burglaries fell to 2,143 last year from 2,238 in 2009.

Alarm calls, however, increased slightly in 2010 to 4,668, up from 4,599 in 2009, but Public Affairs Officer Matt Brown said the department doesn’t track how many calls were false alarms – which can come with fines – or which security companies are servicing the equipment.

“If it’s our equipment error, we pay the fine, and that’s a huge incentive for us to have good quality equipment,” he said.[[In-content Ad]]

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