[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cheektowaga 9-7-2010 by L.L. No. 2-2010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Cheektowaga by reducing the number of avoidable alarms of fire, intrusion, holdup or other emergencies which contribute to ineffective utilization of police and fire emergency agencies, require emergency responses which are susceptible to high accident rates, interfere with genuine emergencies (responses) and produce unnecessary alarm noise to the surrounding community.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectfully ascribed to them by this section:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or an assembly of equipment designed to detect smoke, abnormal rise in temperature, fire, medical emergency or an entry into or exit from a building, structure or facility and which by reason thereof emits an audible response intended to alert persons outside of the premises and/or transmit a signal or message to an emergency agency, either directly or through a private answering point
- AUTOMATIC DIALER
- A device that automatically dials and relays a prerecorded message to an emergency agency.
- AVOIDABLE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence or carelessness of the owner, user, custodian, operator or lessee of an alarm system or that person's employee(s), guest(s) or agents requiring an emergency response from an emergency agency when in fact an emergency requiring such response does not exist. An avoidable alarm is also the intentional activation of an alarm system when the person activating it knows an emergency does not exist, as well as all alarm system activations in which an investigation by a police officer and/or fire district officer of the town reveals no evidence of the existence of an emergency. An avoidable alarm is not deemed to include the activation of an alarm system by violent conditions of nature, acts of God or similar causes beyond the control of the owner, user, custodian, operator or lessee of an alarm system or that person's employee(s), guest(s), or agent(s), nor is an avoidable alarm deemed to be the activation of an alarm system under any circumstances in which the person activating the alarm system reasonably believes that an emergency situation exists.
- EMERGENCY AGENCY
- The Police Department or Fire District, or the Town of Cheektowaga Emergency Dispatch Center.
Exempt from this chapter will be Town buildings, i.e., buildings owned or operated by the Town of Cheektowaga, and fire stations within the Town of Cheektowaga.
No person shall install or maintain an external audible alarm device which does not contain an operational automatic cutoff system which turns off the external audible alarm after a period not to exceed 10 minutes.
An automatic dialer connected directly to an emergency agency shall automatically disconnect and/or terminate its message after the message has been transmitted a maximum of two times. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, the total transmission time of all messages shall not exceed five minutes.
No alarm system shall have an automatic dialer feature or other type of alarm alert which connects automatically to the enhanced 911 emergency telephone system.
There shall be no automatic alarm system with direct communication of any type to an emergency agency without prior written authorization from the emergency agency where the alarms terminate.
It shall be a violation of this chapter to cause or permit an avoidable alarm. The owner, user, custodian, operator or lessee of an alarm system shall be held accountable for all avoidable alarms emanating from that alarm system and shall be fully liable for all fines arising therefrom.
The Police Department of the town shall keep a record of all avoidable alarms relayed by all alarm systems installed within the town.
Charges. An owner or lessee of real property to which an emergency agency responds as a result of an avoidable alarm shall pay a fine for each such response in each calendar year as follows:
Notice of avoidable alarm. The owner or lessee of real property which receives an emergency response by reason of an avoidable alarm shall be notified in writing by the Police Department, by means of first class mail, of all avoidable alarms. The letter shall inform the owner or lessee of the times and types of emergency responses provided to the address location and shall contain with it a copy of this Alarm Systems Law.
Administrative review. The Chief of Police shall establish a policy and procedure whereby an owner of real property or lessee thereof on which an alarm system has been installed and who has been notified of an avoidable alarm may present evidence as to why any such alarm should not be classified as an avoidable alarm. An Avoidable Alarm Review Board consisting of designated representatives from the Police Department, affected Fire Department and the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce, not to exceed five in total, shall conduct a hearing to receive such evidence and make recommendations and findings of fact concerning such avoidable alarm classification. The Avoidable Alarm Review Committee shall make the final determination concerning a classification, which determination shall be reviewed only pursuant to procedures under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. To challenge the classification of an alarm as an avoidable alarm, the real property owner or lessee thereof shall, in writing, notify the Chief of Police within 20 days after receipt of notice of the avoidable alarm. The failure to give timely notice shall be deemed a waiver of the right to review the determination.
Payment of fines. Avoidable alarm fines shall be paid to the Police Department of the Town of Cheektowaga at 3223 Union Road, Cheektowaga, New York 14227.
Failure to remit fine. In the event of failure by a real property owner or lessee of property on which an alarm system is installed to either request administrative review of a proposed fine or pay the avoidable alarm fine within 30 days from the date of notice of the amount due, the Town of Cheektowaga shall add the amount of the fine onto the property owner's next County/Town tax bill.
The Chief of Police of the Town shall enforce this chapter for avoidable alarms emanating from alarm systems. For that purpose, all sworn police officers are authorized to issue and serve appearance tickets or summonses.
Any person, business, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other entity that violates any provisions of this code (other than fines for avoidable alarms) shall be subject to a civil penalty, not to exceed $1,000 for each offense. A separate offense shall be deemed committed upon each day during which a violation occurs, continues or is permitted.
The provisions of this law shall be applicable within the boundaries of the Town of Cheektowaga, excluding the villages of Sloan and Depew.
If any section, clause or provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person is adjudged invalid, the adjudication shall not affect other sections, clauses or provisions or the application thereof which can be sustained or given effect without the invalid section, clause or provision or application, and to this end the various sections, clauses or provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.
The chapter shall become effective January 1, 2011.