[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Livingston 4-22-2013 by Ord. No. 10-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 57, Alarm Systems, adopted by Ord. No. 3-1980 (§§ 22-29 to 22-40 of the 1979 Revised General Ordinances), as amended.
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users and alarm companies to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of alarm systems and reduce or eliminate false alarms.
This chapter governs alarm systems intended to summon law enforcement response, and requires registration, establishes fees, provides for penalties for violations, and establishes a system of administration.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device designed to summon the police to any location in response to an alarm signal. Any person having a premises protected by an alarm device shall still be responsible for the registration thereof in accordance with § 57-4.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm system actuating equipment in an alarm panel providing warning of intrusion or fire.
- ALARM INSTALLATION
- Any alarm device or combination of devices installed for one or more buildings.
- ALARM INSTALLATION AND/OR MONITORING COMPANY
- A private company which customers subscribe to for alarm installation and/or monitoring services to residential and commercial structures.
- ALARM REGISTRATION or PERMIT
- Authorization granted by the Chief of Police to an alarm user to operate an alarm system.
- ALARM SITE
- A single, fixed premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each unit, if served by a separate alarm system in a multiunit building or complex, shall be considered a separate alarm site.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or series of devices, including, but not limited to, hardwired systems and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, which emit or transmit a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition and intended to summon law enforcement response, including local alarm systems. "Alarm system" does not include an alarm installed in a vehicle or on someone's person.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, who (which) has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service from an alarm installation company or monitoring company for an alarm system, or who (which) owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under contract.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence, unintentional or intentional act of someone other than an intruder or by fire, including alarms caused by malfunctioning of the alarm device or other relevant equipment; whereby police or fire is dispatched to the alarm site and finds no evidence of an actual or attempted criminal offense or real fire threat.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- Any alarm system, which is not monitored, that annunciates an alarm only at the alarm site.
- Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, organization or similar entity.
- An individual capable of reaching and having access to the alarm site, the code to the alarm system, and the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.
Any person which owns or operates an alarm device, alarm system or a local alarm system (each to guard against intrusion or fire, but excluding self-contained smoke detectors with an indoor audible signal) shall make application for the continuance thereof, in writing, to the Chief of Police, which application shall contain the location of the device, the name of the installer of said device, the name of the monitoring company, the type of device, provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures, a list of responders to be contacted in the event of an alarm and other information as may be required by the Chief of Police.
All alarm systems shall be registered annually with an initial registration fee of $35, and re-registration fee of $10.
No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid alarm registration. A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site.
Any false statement of a material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm registration shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a registration.
An alarm registration cannot be transferred to another person or alarm site. An alarm user shall inform the Chief of Police of any change that alters any of the information listed on the alarm registration application within five business days of such change.
All fines and fees owed by an applicant must be paid before an alarm registration may be issued or renewed.
Every registration is due on or before December 1 for the following calendar year and shall expire on December 31.
Failure to register an alarm system pursuant to this section shall result in a fine of $100 for each alarm site.
An alarm user shall:
Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms;
Not activate an alarm system for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.
An alarm user shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so that an alarm signal audible on the exterior of an alarm site will sound for no longer than 15 minutes after being activated.
An alarm user shall not use automatic voice dialers.
An alarm user shall not connect any alarm devices or systems to Police headquarters.
This section applies to all persons who have installed and/or monitor their own alarm system.
The central station shall notify Police headquarters on a dedicated alarm telephone line of an alarm activation. They will supply their company information, operator name or number, type of alarm activation and subscriber information when the call is placed. The central station shall also be responsible for making initial notification to the subscriber or subscriber designee.
Local alarm systems having an audible alarm installed out of doors shall be designed to limit the operation of a bell or sound-producing instrument to a maximum of 15 minutes after activation. If the duration of an activated audible device of a local alarm system exceeds 15 minutes, the warnings and penalties provided by § 57-7C of this chapter shall apply as though a false alarm had been activated.
In case of a false alarm, any person having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify Police headquarters. In addition, in the case of false alarms, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and keep a record of said alarms on file.
[Amended 6-24-2013 by Ord. No. 18-2013; 4-28-2014 by Ord. No. 5-2014]
An alarm user shall be subject to fines, depending on the number of false alarms within any calendar year.
[Added 4-28-2014 by Ord. No. 5-2014]
For the first false alarm in any given calendar year, a warning shall be issued.
For the second false alarm a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $100.
For the third false alarm a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $150.
For the fourth false alarm a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $200.
For the fifth false alarm a fine shall be paid to the Township in the amount of $250.
For the sixth and for each subsequent false alarm in the same calendar year, the fine shall be increased by fifty-dollar increments, with no cap on the amount of the fine and shall be paid to the Township. (For example, sixth false alarm: $300 fine; seventh false alarm: $350 fine; eighth false alarm: $400 fine, etc.)
Buildings and other facilities owned by the Township of Livingston are exempt from enforcement provisions and fines pertaining to false alarms.
In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the alarm registration applications and records relating to specific alarm activations shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the Township with access to such information.
Alarm registration is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, of response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained. By applying for an alarm registration, the alarm user acknowledges that law enforcement response may be influenced by factors such as the availability of police and/or fire units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels and prior response history.
It shall be a further condition precedent to the issuance of an alarm registration that each permittee, alarm contractor and licensee agree, in writing, to indemnify and save harmless the Township of Livingston, its agents, servants and employees, including the members of the Police Division of the Township, from and on account of any and all damages arising from or as a result of any forced entry by police personnel into unattended premises occurring during alarm response.
The Township Manager may from time to time promulgate rules and regulations supplementing this chapter in order to provide for recordkeeping and efficient management of said system.
The High School and the Middle School shall each be allowed 10 false alarms per calendar year, at no cost to the Board of Education.
Each elementary school building and the Board of Education offices shall be allowed five false alarms per calendar year, at no cost to the Board of Education.
After a particular school or the Board of Education offices have exceeded the number of no-cost false alarms permitted above, the Board of Education shall pay an administrative fee of $50 per false alarm for that facility. These provisions shall supersede the Chapter 48, Violations Bureau, schedule of fines. The Board of Education shall not be required to appear in Municipal Court to pay any fines assessed, and to the extent any dispute arises regarding a false alarm violation, the Board of Education and Township Council, or their designees, shall resolve the issue.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If a court determines that a word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, section, or other provision is invalid or that the application of any part of the provision to any person or circumstance is invalid, the remaining provisions and the application of those provisions to other persons or circumstances are not affected by that decision.
Ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.