The Jade Alarm Story


One night in 1969, as they had done for years, David and Lillian Pfefer were operating their parking lot at 2201 Brooklyn; Dave’s Parking, across from the old Municipal Stadium. When the game was over and the last car seen safely off the lot, David, Lillian and family went home. Soon after getting home, an intruder tried to force the front door of their home and subsequently set off a chain of events, which brought about Jade Alarm Co.

After the intruder incident, the eldest son, Joseph, began looking at the problem of security for his parents since electronics was his hobby. Through much trial, error and experimentation, Joe designed and installed, with the help of his three brothers, what is truly the first Jade Alarm Co. system at his parent’s home. Primitive though it was, it worked.

First Customers

A few months after the home system was built, Joe’s father, David, was talking with Harold Eisen of Harold’s Formal Wear. Harold said he was in the need of a security system for his business at it new location of 7638 Troost and to have Joe give him a call.

Joe rebuilt the old “Mossie” alarm at the Troost location since it had literally been burned up in the 1968 riots. As Harold Eisen had taught several of the old Mossie Alarm servicemen the technique of foiling and beam alignment, he guided the installation. Following this successful installation, on Mr. Eisen’s recommendation, Joe installed a system for Arrend-Miller Pharmaceutical Supply Co., which was later inspected and approved by the DEA.

Birth of our Central Station Monitoring Command Center

By 1977, the little company won the bid to install the security system for the Swope Parkway Bank Building, and the customer wanted to know how much the central station monitoring charge would be. PANIC SET IN! The only “independent” monitoring facility, Able-1 Answering Service had already sent a prospective customer to Jade’s largest competitor. Joe quickly arranged a loan from his parents, then ordered the first digital alarm receiver from SESCOA. Approximately ten days after the system was installed, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, the first of many intruders were captured by the Police responding to a Jade Alarm monitored silent intrusion alarm.

Growth in Customers and Reputation

Soon the little company had several more accounts, and customers were being added at an “alarming” rate. That early equipment was moved from David and Lillian’s kitchen to a special area in the garage.

More times than can be counted, David and Lillian monitored the alarm receiver, and many more times David accompanied Joe on alarm and service calls. Even in those early days without fancy facilities or advertising, word seemed to just spread that when Jade was monitoring you and yours, someone was always there and no matter what happened, what problem may come up, or unforeseen event take place, the people of Jade were there and always stayed with the customer.

A New Home

In 1981, the current location of Jade Alarm Co. at 7636 Troost Avenue, was purchased from Mr. Harold Eisen. The company moved out of David and Lillian’s home and came home to this facility. There were many, many months of preparation as the building had to be gutted and re-done top to bottom to meet the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) certification requirements.

A Series of Firsts

Since the move, the company has continued to grow, taking risky, but well thought out steps. Realizing that if the Company were to be at the forefront of its field, computerization would be an essential and necessary part of the operation. After finding a multi-user, multi-tasking computer system and programmer, as well as having the computer interface equipment built (the first of three generations of such equipment), the trials and tribulations of automating and monitoring capabilities of this little Company got under way. One has to realize there was no such thing as Personal Computers back in the late 70s, and this was something no one else in this area had done.

By 1985, Jade had accomplished another “first”, the erection of its main receiving tower and installation of radio transmitters. These transmitters ensured reception of alarm signals even though the phone lines would be cut or otherwise out of service. However, after four years of problems, the system was pulled out and replaced with an Israeli long-range radio system. Then in 1992, another in what has become a long line of “firsts”, the first U.S. installed radio alarm network utilizing intelligent repeaters was installed by the now not so little Company.

Tragedy and Recovery

October of 1987 brought a stunning and tragic change to Jade Alarm Co. In a moment of senseless violence, David Pfefer was murdered. The guiding hand, the rock and anchor of Jade Alarm Co. was gone in an instant, but the continuation and success of the Company is testament to his wisdom and way of life.

Just a little over a year later, on November 29, 1988, another tragedy occurred which staggered the Company. The tenant renting the 7638 side of the Company’s building caught fire. The firewall installed in the building years earlier kept the Company from being consumed. The Company continued and recovered due in large measure to the support and faith of its employees and customers. It can be remembered that after the firemen had cleared the smoke, (the central station had been “down” for forty-five minutes) the 10 o’clock evening news showed the fire. The phones immediately lit up with calls from concerned customers wondering if their systems were still working – and they were assured that their systems were indeed working and being monitored. Once again, the influence of David and Lillian showed through; Jade is there when the customer calls.

Because of the upbringing of its President, Joe believes that the customer may not always be right, BUT they are always the CUSTOMER and should always be treated with respect and care. It will always be so.

And so, the Company faces the future and confidently goes forward. Since the beginning, Jade Alarm Co. has progressed using the faith and morals of David Pfefer and his beloved wife, Lillian. It is and will always be a viable entity!

“Providing Your Security Since 1969”

— Joseph Pfefer

President & Founder