[HISTORY: Derived from Sec. 3-22 of the 2003 Revised General Ordinances of the Township of Willingboro. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Council of the Township of Willingboro hereby finds and determines that:
The occupants of many residential and commercial establishments located within the Township of Willingboro have found it desirable to make provision for the installation upon their premises of alarm systems for emergencies such as burglary and fire.
There have been a substantial number of false alarms associated with the alarm systems which have been installed within the Township so that the number of false alarms has resulted in a situation which, if not remedied, will lead to an unnecessary drain upon the human resources, time, space, facilities and finances of the Township, its Police and Fire Departments and the deterioration of the quality service provided to persons operating and relying upon alarm systems in the Township.
The public interest, therefore, requires the enactment of rules, regulations, standards and procedures to regulate and control the installation and operation of alarm systems in the Township.
This chapter has as its purpose the regulating and control of the installation, operation and maintenance of private alarm systems within the Township in order to ensure that the quality of alarm services rendered to the public will be maintained at a high level and to alleviate conditions otherwise leading to an unnecessary drain on the human resources, time, space, facilities and finances of the Township of Willingboro and its Police and Fire Departments.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person, other than the Township of Willingboro, who sells, installs, operates, maintains or owns any alarm device or local alarm designed to summon the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal agency to any location in response to any type of alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by a person, partnership, corporation, etc., for profit which engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling, servicing or responding to a fire or burglar alarm system, or which causes any of these activities to take place. Excluded from this definition, however, are retail establishments which sell alarm systems over the counter and do not service those systems.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm activating equipment which provides warning of burglary, intrusion, fire, flood or like peril.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarm devices for the express purpose of giving visual and/or audible warning or an emergency such as burglary, intrusion, fire, flood or like peril.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm device or system is maintained.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal eliciting a response by police or firefighters or other public officials when a situation requiring a response by police or firefighters or other public officials does not in fact exist (but excluding an alarm signal caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business or alarm user).
- INDEPENDENT SMOKE DETECTOR
- A device giving an audible alarm indicating smoke and/or fire within a structure and not connected to an alarm system or to any external sounding device outside of the structure.
No person shall install, operate or maintain any alarm system unless the alarm system has been registered with the Police Department.
An alarm system shall be deemed registered at such time as a registration form supplied by the Police Department is completed as to all information requested therein.
The information to be provided on the registration form shall include:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the property upon which the alarm system is installed.
The name of the installer of the system.
The type of system.
A list of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the person(s) to be contacted in the event of an alarm or in an emergency situation determined by the Police Department.
The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the persons or company maintaining or monitoring the alarm system.
Any other information determined to be needed by the Director of Public Safety.
Whenever there has occurred any material change in the information previously submitted with respect to any alarm system that changed information, it shall be the duty of the user of the alarm system, within 10 days of any material change, to file a supplemental or revised registration containing accurate, current information. The fee as provided in § 150-10D shall be charged for supplemental or revised information filed.
There is hereby established a one-time fee for the registration of alarm systems as provided in § 150-10C, which shall be payable on the initial filing of any registration form.
Each alarm system shall be installed utilizing discreet circuitry for multipurpose alarm systems to ensure appropriate emergency response.
Any alarm system which requires for its operation electricity supplied by a public utility may be equipped with a battery rendering it operable in the event of a power outage if so desired by the property owner. Such a battery backup system shall only be required for any alarm system which will trigger automatically in the event of a power outage.
Every alarm system must be provided with a device which will shut off the alarm after 15 minutes of activation.
Every burglar alarm system shall be equipped with a time delay of at least 15 seconds, which may include an audible signal of the same length of time, the time delay to be designed to prevent accidental activation of the system. The fifteen-second audible signal, if utilized, shall be audible only within the structure and not externally.
No alarm system may be connected directly or indirectly to the Police Department, except as may be specifically authorized by the Director of Public Safety with respect to high-risk locations.
No person shall install, cause to be installed or permit to be installed any alarm device, by whatever name known, which automatically selects a telephone line dedicated to the Police Department or Fire Department for the purpose of playing a recorded message to report any emergency.
In the event an alarm system, other than a fire or holdup alarm system, is tied into and/or serviced by a central station or answering service, upon activation of the alarm system, the central station or answering service shall verify the validity of the alarm and shall immediately notify the Police Department if the alarm does not require a police or fire response.
No police, fire or other public department or official shall be responsible in any way for the resetting or maintenance of any alarm system.
No person owning, using or possessing an alarm system shall cause or permit the giving of repeated false alarms, whether intentional, accidental or otherwise.
Any person owning, using or possessing an alarm system who may want to know about a response to any alarm by the Police Department shall contact the Department. The Police Department will not contact automatically any person or answering service to advise them concerning the result of the Department's response to any alarm.
An alarm business having knowledge of such shall be responsible for notifying the Police Department when one of its customers possessing an alarm system sells the property. The alarm business shall notify the Police Department as to the name of the new owner and whether or not the new owner is continuing with an alarm device or system within the property.
An owner or occupant of a property possessing or using an alarm system shall be responsible for notifying the Police Department of the sale or transfer of possession of the property where the alarm system is installed. The notice shall include the name of the new owner or occupant and whether or not the new owner or occupant is continuing with an alarm device or system within the property.
All information submitted in compliance with this chapter shall be held in the strictest confidence and shall be deemed a record exempt from public disclosure. Any violation of confidentiality shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any alarm system installed on property occupied by any Township, county, state or federal government agency or office, nor to an independent smoke detector as defined in this chapter.
Any person who fails to register an alarm system as required by the provisions of this chapter is subject to a fine of $25.
Any owner or user of an alarm system which experiences more than three false alarms within any twelve-month period shall be required to modify or improve the alarm system with a retrofit which will incorporate into the system a mandatory audible fifteen-second signal which shall be designed to prevent accidental activation of the system and shall also be subject to an administrative fine of $50 for each false alarm after three, up to six. Any owner or user of an alarm system which experiences more than six false alarms within any twelve-month period shall be subject to an administrative fine of $250 for each false alarm after six in any twelve-month period. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, any false alarms which occur during the first 60 days after an alarm system is installed shall not be counted towards the number of false alarms as provided for in this subsection.
Any owner or user of an alarm system who has more than three false alarms, as provided in Subsection B of this section, may appeal to the Director of Public Safety, and the Director of Public Safety may, but is not required to, allow that owner or user an additional three false alarms without imposition of the administrative fine where the Director of Public Safety is satisfied that the problem of the false alarms has been corrected as the result of prompt and reasonable action by the owner or user of the alarm system.
Any owner or user of an alarm system who installs such a system not in compliance with this chapter is subject to a fine of $50. Additionally, the owner or user may be required to remove such an alarm system.
Any person who intentionally causes the giving of a false alarm shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty.