[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Washington 5-8-1984 by Ord. No. 4-84. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations concerning the registering, operation and maintenance of certain alarm systems within the Borough of Washington and to provide penalties for violations of any of the provisions set forth herein. The terms of this chapter shall in no way prohibit alarm companies from providing services by private source to customers, both within and outside the municipality, so long as the alarm panel or telephone numbers of the Police Department are not utilized.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-actuating equipment which provides warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, burglary, flood, health emergency, temperature fluctuation or like perils, including dial alarms (devices using normal telephone lines transmitting notification by telephone directly to the police headquarters) and direct alarms (devices using telephone lines terminating in an alarm panel located in police headquarters).
- ALARM PANEL
- That component installed in the console in the Police Department headquarters containing alarm indicators.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any one or more alarm devices with apparatus, including wiring, sensing devices and audible alarms installed for the expressed purpose of giving visual and/or audible warning of an emergency, such as but not limited to a burglary, intrusion, fire, smoke, flood, sudden change in temperature, medical emergency or like peril.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- A device that emits an audible signal.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal necessitating response by the Borough Police Department, Fire Department or Emergency Squad where an emergency situation does not exist.
- Any natural person, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity.
All alarm systems and devices shall be maintained by the owners or users thereof in good repair and operated in a responsible manner. When evidence exists that there has been a failure by such owners or users to properly maintain alarm systems or devices or operate same in a proper manner, the Police Chief is authorized to demand that such devices be disconnected until such time as appropriate repairs and/or modifications are made and satisfactory assurances are provided that the system will be operated in a responsible manner.
All alarm systems equipped with external audible alarms shall be equipped with a timing device that will automatically silence the external alarm within 10 minutes after it is activated.
All alarm systems with an external audible alarm or which are connected directly to the Borough alarm panel or an alarm dialing device indirectly connected to the Police Department shall be equipped with an auxiliary or backup electrical power source designed to prevent the alarm system from being activated by a temporary power interruption or outage unless satisfactory evidence is presented that indicates an alarm would not be activated by a temporary power interruption or outage.
Persons having an alarm device which is being tested or repaired shall notify the Police Department before tests or repairs commence and after completion of same so as to avoid the possibility of activating a false alarm.
Sensory mechanisms on alarm systems shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and not be activated by impulses due to, among other things, pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind, outside noise, rattling or vibrations of doors or windows or other forces unrelated to a general alarm condition.
All dial alarms shall be coded to dial a special number at the Washington Borough Police Department which shall be made available to registered owners of alarm devices. No dial alarm shall dial a telephone number other than the number designated for dial alarms as specified by the Police Chief.
The contents of any message from a dial alarm must be intelligible and in a format approved by the Police Chief. No message shall be transmitted more than twice as a result of a single stimulus of the mechanism.
All dial alarms must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and must be capable of being disconnected by the owner or user or his designees in order to permit calls to the Police Department in the event of a false alarm.
The cost of installation and maintenance of any alarm system to the Borough's alarm panel shall be borne by the applicant.
No dial alarm shall be allowed to connect to the Police Department special telephone number if it has the capability of seizing the line to prevent outgoing or incoming calls once the alarm message has been transmitted.
Every person desiring to connect an alarm device to the alarm panel shall be required to register said alarm device with the Police Department. Dial alarms are required to be registered with the Police Department if said alarm device will be used to notify the Police Department of an alarm condition via the telephone lines. All alarm systems with an exterior alarm, with the exception of automatic car alarms, are required to be registered with the Police Department.
The Police Department shall retain and maintain registration applications which, at a minimum, shall require the name, address and telephone number of the alarm device owner and/or user and the name, address and telephone numbers of three persons who can be contacted to respond if an alarm situation exists in order to secure the premises and reset or deactivate the alarm system if necessary.
No person shall maintain or operate any alarm system required to be registered with the Police Department except in conformance with this chapter.
All registration applications must be accompanied by or have contained herein an agreement to indemnify and hold the Borough of Washington harmless on account of any acts or omissions relating to the operations of the annunciator control panel and the connections of the permittee's alarm device thereto and a consent to inspect, during normal working hours, after reasonable notice, the premises where the alarm system is located. The applicant shall also agree to notify the Borough Police Department if there is any change in the information supplied in the registration application. No charge shall be assessed for amending a filed application. Failure to file an amended application may result in the alarm system being disconnected and/or the owner and or user being subject to the penalties hereinafter provided in this chapter. The application shall contain a statement that the owner of a dial alarm shall not disclose the special Police Department telephone number, and any violation of this condition will constitute a violation of this chapter and subject the violator to the penalty section contained hereinafter in this chapter. All dial alarm applications must contain proof of compliance with Federal Communications Commission standards.
[Amended 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 13-2008]
The owner or user of an alarm system required to register the system with the Borough Police Department shall pay a one-time fee of $50. The owner or user of a dial alarm shall be required to pay a fifteen-dollar fee annually. Owners or users with alarm systems connected to the alarm panel shall be required to pay a thirty-five-dollar fee annually.
Any person owning an alarm system not in compliance with this chapter at the time of adoption of this chapter shall, within 90 days, make any and all necessary modifications to the system in order to bring the system into full compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Failure to bring existing alarm systems into compliance may result in disconnection from the alarm panel or subject the owner or user to the penalties contained hereinafter, or both.
The Washington Borough Police Department shall make provisions for an alarm panel to be located within the dispatcher area. The contract for installing and maintaining said alarm panel may be awarded from time to time by the Borough Council. The contractor selected must maintain the panel in good working order. The contractor shall assume all liability and shall indemnify and save the Borough of Washington, its officers, agents and employees, harmless for or on account of any acts or omissions directly or indirectly related to the installation, operation or maintenance of the alarm panel. All equipment installed shall be approved by the Borough, and the contractor shall bear any and all costs of installation and maintenance. In the event the contractor fails to provide adequate service, the Borough may terminate the contract at any time, provided that 30 days' notice is given to the contractor.
Investigations. In the case of a false alarm which summons the Police or Fire Department to investigate, the Police Chief shall cause an investigation to be made for the purposes of ascertaining the cause of the false alarm. A record shall be kept of each false alarm.
Any individual who intentionally, willfully or maliciously destroys or damages any alarm system or components thereof; or intentionally, willfully or maliciously interferes with the operation of any alarm system; or intentionally, willfully or maliciously causes or assists in causing a false alarm shall, upon conviction thereof, be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 90 days or shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. Each incident shall be considered a separate violation.
Any person convicted of violating this chapter shall, in addition to the removal of the alarm from the Borough's alarm panel, be subject to a fine of not more than $500.