Town of Elk Grove Alarm Ordinance

Town of Elk Grove Alarm Ordinance
http://www.elkgrovepd.org/documents/alarm_ordinance.pdf
Chapter 9.16
EMERGENCY ALARMS
Sections:
9.16.010
9.16.020
9.16.030
9.16.040
9.16.050
9.16.060
9.16.070
9.16.080
9.16.090
9.16.100
9.16.110
9.16.120
9.16.130
Purpose and authority
Definitions
Permit required
Alarm application permit and fee
Renewals, reapplications and information changes
False alarms
Responsibility for alarm service - audible or silent
Suspension of permit
Appeal
Issuance of administrative citations
Audible alarm systems
Automatic calling/dialing systems prohibited
Violation of chapter
9.16.010 Purpose And Authority.
The City Council finds and determines that the responsible use of alarm systems
facilitates the effective and efficient response to alarms by the Elk Grove Police
Department and is in the best interests of the people of the City of Elk Grove. A permit
is required to operate an alarm system and the fee for the permit covers the estimated
reasonable cost of administering this ordinance and regulating alarm systems.
Reducing the number of false alarms and unnecessary responses by the Elk Grove
Police Department is consistent with the public health and safety. This ordinance is not
intended to interfere with contractual obligations between alarm businesses and alarm
users or to supersede any provisions of State law.
9.16.020 Definitions.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply and are listed
below alphabetically:
(1)
“Alarm agent” shall mean a person employed by an alarm company
operator whose duties include selling on premises, altering, installing, maintaining,
moving, repairing, replacing, servicing, responding or monitoring an alarm system, or a
person who manages or supervises a person employed by an alarm company to
perform any of the duties described herein.
(2)
“Alarm company operator” shall mean any person who, for any
consideration whatsoever, engages in business or accepts employment to install,
maintain, alter, sell on premises, monitor, or service alarm systems or who responds to
alarm system except for any alarm agent. “Alarm company operator,” however, does
not include a business which merely sells from a fixed location or manufacturers alarms
systems unless the business services, installs, sells on premises, monitors, or responds
to alarm systems at the protected premises.
(3)
“Alarm system” shall mean any mechanical and/or electrical device
designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry on real property premises, or for
alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act or both; and when actuated, emits a
sound or transmits a signal to indicate that an emergency situation exists, and which
may prompt police to respond.
Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, silent alarms, audible alarms, and
direct dial telephone devices. The following devices shall not constitute alarm systems
within the meaning of this section:
(a) Devices which are not installed, operated, or used for the purpose of
reporting an emergency to the Police Department;
(b) Alarm devices affixed to motor vehicles, trailers or trailer coaches
(as defined in California Vehicle Code Sections 415, 630 and 635), vessels, or aircraft;
(c)
Alarm devices installed on a temporary basis by the Police
Department.
(4)
“Alarm user” shall mean any person using an alarm system at his/her
place of business or residence.
(5)
“Audible alarm” shall mean a device designed for the detection of an
unauthorized entry on, or an attempted entry into premises or a structure; or for alerting
others of the commission of an unlawful act, or both, and which, when activated,
generates an audible sound on or off the premises.
(6)
“Automatic calling/dialing system” shall mean an alarm system which
automatically sends over telephone lines, by direct connect or otherwise, a recorded
message indicating an emergency situation exists.
(7)
“Central monitoring station” shall mean any office, station, or telephone
answering service where person(s) monitor and/or receive emergency signals from
alarm systems, and thereafter, relay messages from such signals by live voice to the
Elk Grove Police Department Telecommunications Center.
(8)
“Direct connect” shall mean an alarm system which has the capability of
transmitting system signals to, and receiving them at, an agency maintained by a local
government entity such as the City of Elk Grove at its Elk Grove 911 call center.
(9)
“False alarm” shall mean the activation of an alarm system through
mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or maintenance, or the negligence
of the owner, lessee, or of his/her employees or agents, which activates response by
law enforcement or other emergency response providers when an emergency condition
does not exist; provided, however, alarms caused by acts of nature such as
earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or other violent, uncontrollable acts of nature shall not
be considered false alarms.
(10) “Interconnect” means to connect an alarm system to a telephone line,
either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a standard telephone, for the
purpose of using the telephone line to transmit an emergency message upon the
activation of the alarm system.
(11) “Nonpriority” shall mean that police response to the activation of an alarm
shall not be given precedence over other calls and will be predicated upon availability of
police units and other service needs.
(12) “Panic Alarm” means any device or system designed to alert law
enforcement of a violent act or an immediate present threat of a violent act by manually
activating a switch or button.
(13) “Permittee” means the person to whom an alarm system permit is issued.
(14)
“Person” shall mean any individual, partnership, corporation, or other
entity.
(15) “Police Chief” shall mean the Police Chief of the City of Elk Grove or the
Police Chief’s designee.
(16) “Primary Trunk line” means any telephone line, including 911 emergency
lines, leading directly into the Communications Center of the Elk Grove Police
Department for the purpose of handling emergency calls on a person- to-person basis,
and which is identified as such by a specific number included among the emergency
numbers listed in the telephone directory issued by the telephone company, covering
the service area within the Elk Grove Police Department's jurisdiction.
(17) “Silent alarm” shall mean any mechanical and/or electrical device
designed for the detection of unauthorized entry on premises or for alerting another of
the commission of an unlawful act which transmits a signal to a monitored, remote
location.
(18) “Standby power backup” shall mean any auxiliary, secondary, or backup power source capable of supplying adequate power to properly operate an alarm
system should the primary power source be interrupted.
9.16.030 Permit Required.
(1)
Alarm User.
(a)
Except as otherwise provided hereafter, it shall be unlawful for any
person to connect, or operate, or to cause to be connected, or operated, an alarm
system in the City of Elk Grove without obtaining a valid alarm system permit within
fifteen (15) days of connecting or commencing to operate an alarm system and keeping
a valid alarm system permit in full force and effect at all times thereafter.
(b)
The application for an alarm system permit shall include an
agreement, which the applicant must sign before the permit is issued, whereby the
applicant/permittee agrees to reimburse the City for costs incurred by the City resulting
from false alarms.
(c)
Persons owning or in possession of property on which an alarm
system exists shall be responsible for securing the proper alarm system permit and
such permit shall be issued only to the person who owns or is in possession of the
property on which the alarm system exists.
(d)
The Chief of Police shall issue the alarm system permit within a
reasonable period following the date of receipt of application, unless the alarm system
does not comply with the specifications contained in this chapter, the applicant has
failed to pay the required fee, or the application contains a misrepresentation of fact.
(e)
In the event the Chief of Police denies the permit to an applicant for
any of the reasons set forth in Subsection (4), the applicant shall have the right to a
hearing concerning the denial pursuant to Sections 9.16.090 through 9.16.100
(f)
Any person who operates an alarm system without obtaining a
permit as set forth in subsection (a)(1), above, shall obtain a permit within 30 days of
receipt of a notice from the Elk Grove Police Department that a permit is required and
shall pay the fee set forth in Section 9.16.040. Failure to obtain a permit and pay fees
within 30 days of notice shall result in a fine as determined by resolution of the City
Council.
(g)
Payment of Fee: An invoice shall be mailed to the alarm operator
within thirty (30) days following the assessment of the fee. Fees are due and owing not
later than thirty (30) days after the date of mailing the invoice. The date of mailing shall
appear on the invoice. Fees received after the due date shall be subject to a late fee as
determined by resolution of the City Council. Fees received more than sixty (60) days
after the due date shall be subject to an additional late fee as determined by resolution
of the City Council.
(2)
Alarm Companies.
(a)
No alarm company shall perform any installation, connection or
maintenance of any alarm system in the City for which a valid permit has not been
issued. The alarm company shall verify the existence of a valid permit either by
obtaining a valid permit for the alarm user or by confirming the prior issuance of a
permit, in writing, with the Elk Grove Police Department. Any installation, connection or
maintenance of any alarm system by an alarm company for which no valid permit has
been issued is an infraction punishable by a fine as determined by resolution of the City
Council.
(b)
Any alarm company operator notified by the Elk Grove Police
Department that an alarm system user's permit has been suspended, revoked, or not
renewed, shall discontinue any and all service on such system within fifteen days of
notification.
9.16.040 Alarm Application Permit And Fee.
(1)
Applications and reapplications for all permits required by this chapter
shall be filed with the Elk Grove Police Department and shall be accompanied by fees
set by resolution of the City Council. The fees are established to cover part of the cost
of investigating and processing the applications, notices and permits and are not
refundable. The Elk Grove Police Department shall prescribe the form of the application
and request such information as is necessary to evaluate and act upon the permit
application. Permits shall be for a term of three (3) years.
(2)
The application for an alarm system permit shall include an agreement,
which the applicant must sign before the permit can be issued, whereby the applicant
agrees to reimburse the City for a portion of the costs incurred by the City resulting from
false alarms.
9.16.050 Renewals, Reapplications And Information Changes.
(1) Renewals. In order for the Police Department to update and verify records,
each permittee shall be required to renew alarm system permits issued every three (3)
years for residential and businesses. Renewals will be at no cost if updated information
is received before the three (3) year expiration of the permit. Failure to update
information will result in a reapplication.
(2) Reapplications. Permittees shall reapply for an alarm permit under any of
the following conditions:
(a)
Whenever a permit has been revoked pursuant to this chapter;
(b)
Whenever a permit has expired and no renewal has been applied
for within fifteen days prior to the expiration date; or
(c)
Whenever additional systems are added to the premises, business
or property.
(3)
Information changes. The permittee shall inform the Elk Grove Police
Department of any changes to information on the application within ten (10) days of
such change. No fee shall be assessed to correct the information.
9.16.060 False Alarms.
(1)
Three or more false alarms in any calendar year shall result in the
imposition of a fine as determined by resolution of the City Council. All fines shall be
payable to the City of Elk Grove.
(2)
Payment of Fines: An invoice shall be mailed to the alarm user within
thirty (30) days of the false alarm. The fine is due and owing not later than thirty (30)
days after the date of mailing the invoice. The date of mailing shall appear on the
invoice.
(3)
Discontinuance of Response: In addition to any other action that may be
taken by the Elk Grove Police Department pursuant to this Chapter, the Chief of Police
or his/her designee may discontinue responding to an alarm at any location if the Alarm
user has not corrected the conditions that cause false alarms after the sixth false alarm
within a calendar year. The period of non-response shall be determined by the Chief of
Police, but shall not exceed six months. The Chief of Police may shorten the period of
non-response upon receipt of satisfactory evidence that the problem creating the false
alarms has been corrected. In addition, the Chief of Police may discontinue responding
to false alarms at a location if the Alarm user at the location has failed to pay any false
alarm fine(s) sixty (60) days after the date an invoice was mailed to the Alarm user, until
such time as such fines are paid, plus an additional five (5) business days in order to
allow sufficient time to process payments.
(4)
Appeal: Any person may appeal the assessment of a false alarm fine by
filing a Notice of Appeal with the Elk Grove Police Department within fifteen (15) days of
the mailing of the invoice. The invoice shall advise the person to whom the fine is
assessed of the right to appeal. The Notice of Appeal shall state all reasons why the
appealing party believes that the fine was improperly assessed and shall be
accompanied by any documentary evidence that the appealing party wishes to be
considered. The appeal and all documentation shall be reviewed by the Chief of Police
or the Chief of Police’s designee. The decision of the Chief of Police or the Chief of
Police’s designee shall be final. In the event that it is determined that the false alarm
fine was improperly assessed, the fine shall be canceled.
9.16.070 Responsibility For Alarm Service - Audible or Silent.
In case of either an audible or a silent alarm, the person or persons named in the
alarm permit application or a person whose name is on file with the Police Department
as a designated responding party shall, upon proper notification, proceed immediately
to the location of the activated alarm and provide access to the premises to allow the
Police Department to properly secure such premises.
All alarm service companies which contract to provide alarm response services within
the City shall maintain service personnel on duty twenty-four (24) hours a day to provide
for such responses.
9.16.080 Suspension Of Permit.
When grounds as hereafter provided exist, the Chief of Police may determine to
suspend a permit. Suspensions of permits shall be for a maximum of three hundred
sixty-five (365) calendar days. Use of the alarm system during a suspension of the
permit shall be a violation of this chapter.
The following shall constitute grounds for suspension of an alarm permit:
(1)
The violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.
(2)
A false statement on the permit application.
(3)
Failure to pay any fee or fine assessed pursuant to this Chapter.
(4)
Six (6) or more false alarms during any calendar year.
9.16.090 Appeal.
If an application for a permit is denied or a permit is to be considered for
suspension pursuant to Section 9.16.080 the Chief of Police shall serve on the applicant
or permittee a written notice of the Chief of Police’s proposed action including, in the
case of suspension, the length of the proposed suspension, and of the right to a hearing
on the matter. Service shall be by certified/registered mail to the applicant's or
permittee's last known address. Service shall be considered complete five (5) days
after such mailing.
Any decision for a denial or suspension of a permit may be appealed pursuant to
the appeals procedure set forth in Chapter 1.11 of this Code.
9.16.100 Issuance Of Administrative Citations.
Any person authorized to enforce provisions of this Chapter may, in addition to
any other means of enforcement, issue administrative citations to enforce the provisions
of this Chapter pursuant to the administrative citation procedures set forth in Chapter
1.12 of this Code.
9.16.110 Audible Alarm Systems.
(1)
Sirens Prohibited.
(a)
No alarm system which has an audible alarm and which emits the
sound of a siren shall be installed or connected on the outside of any building in the
City, on or after the effective date of the ordinance. This section shall not be construed
to prohibit the use of certain electronic horns or howlers that may be approved by the
Chief of Police or the Chief of Police’s designee.
(b)
Any alarm system which has an audible alarm and which emits the
sound of a siren and which is installed and in operation prior to the effective date of this
ordinance codified in this chapter shall be disconnected within thirty days after the
effective date of the ordinance. Anyone who installs or permits the installation of, or
uses such an alarm system, is guilty of an infraction as provided in Section 9.16.130.
(2)
Automatic Shutoff Required. Any alarm system which is installed or
connected on or after the effective date of this ordinance and which, when activated,
generates an audible alarm on the exterior of the structure in which the system is
maintained, shall have as part of the alarm system an automatic shutoff device which
shuts off the alarm system within twenty minutes of initial activation. Any alarm system
which is installed and in operation prior to the date the ordinance codified in this chapter
becomes effective and which, when activated, generates an audible sound on the
exterior of the structure in which the system is maintained, shall have such an automatic
shutoff device, as described above, installed and in operation within sixty days after the
effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.
(a)
Any person who uses, or causes the installation of, an alarm system
without the required shutoff is guilty of an infraction.
(b)
Any alarm company who installs an alarm system without the required
shutoff is guilty of an infraction.
9.16.120 Automatic Calling/Dialing Systems Prohibited.
(1)
No automatic dialing device shall be interconnected to a primary trunk line of the
police department. Any person who makes or permits the interconnection is guilty of an
infraction.
(2)
Persons owning or leasing an automatic dialing system may have the device
interconnected to a telephone line transmitting directly to:
(a)
A central station;
(b)
A modified central station; or
(c)
An answering service.
(3)
The relaying of messages to the police department by a central monitoring
station, modified central station, or an answering service shall be over a primary trunk
line.
(4)
No automatic dialing system may be interconnected to the telephone operator,
city telephone operator, or 911 emergency center operator.
9.16.130 Violation Of Chapter.
(1)
Except as otherwise specifically provided, pursuant to the provisions of
Government Code Section 36900, violation of any of the provisions contained in this
Chapter shall constitute an infraction punishable by fines as determined by resolution of
the City Council.
The City Manager, or the Manager’s designee, is the official charged with the
responsibility for administering the provisions of this Chapter. Pursuant to the
provisions of Section 836.5 of the Penal Code, the Elk Grove Police Department shall
be authorized to enforce and arrest persons without a warrant for violations of the
provisions of this Chapter.
The City Manager, or his designee, is hereby empowered to seek recovery of the fines
or false alarm service fees by civil action in small claims court.
(2)
All remedies set forth in this Chapter are cumulative and the use of one or more
remedies shall not bar the use of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing the
provisions of this Chapter.
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