[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City 1-7-1997 as Ch. VII of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances, as amended through Ord. No. 3742-43. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Ordinance to Provide for the Regulation and Control of the Installation, Operation and Maintenance of Alarm Systems in the City of Union City."
Findings. The large increase in the number of private alarm systems and users connected into the Police Department and the number of false alarms, relative to holdups, burglary and other similar types of alarms, have resulted in an increasing demand upon public personnel, as well as upon the present facilities available to the Police Department.
Declaration. In addition to the foregoing, the increase in the number of private enterprises engaged in the alarm business, each with its own system and equipment, has resulted in conditions that if not remedied will lead to an unnecessary drain upon the manpower, time, facilities and finances of the City and its Public Safety Department. If the present system is not corrected and improved upon, there will follow a deterioration of the quality of service to all persons subscribing to alarm services.
The purpose, therefore, of this chapter, shall be to provide for the regulation and control of the installation, operation and maintenance of private alarm systems within the City in order that the Department of Public Safety may improve the quality of the alarm services to be rendered to the public and that such services shall be maintained at the highest level possible.
In addition, the private alarm enterprises retained by owners and occupants of buildings and enterprises in the City shall be enabled to perform their services on a basis of standards and requirements that shall be fair, equitable and impartially applicable to all such buildings and enterprises.
As used in this chapter, the words terms and phrases, hereinafter defined, shall have the following meanings:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarm devices or local alarms for the express purpose of affording visual or audible warning, or both, of an emergency such as a holdup, burglary, intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or like perils.
- CENTRAL STATION
- A communications center receiving signals from an alarm signaling device which is operated for its subscribers. Such central location is maintained and supervised on a continuous basis by trained operators who will take appropriate action upon receipt of an emergency signal from an alarm signal device, including the relaying of such information directly to the Police Department communications center.
- DIAL ALARM
- An alarm device that employs an automatic dialing system precoded to connect with a telephone in police headquarters rather than to the alarm console with an automatic cutoff.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system by causes other than those to which the alarm system was designed or intended to respond or activate.
- LOCAL ALARM or PRIVATE ALARM
- Any mechanism that constitutes, in whole or in part, an alarm system that is operated by a private company at a location other than the property in the City.
- A person in possession of premises in or upon which an alarm system exists.
Registration requirements. No dial alarm shall be permitted unless:
It shall first have been registered with the Chief of Police as hereinafter required.
It shall first have been approved by the Chief of Police after proof has been submitted that same has been approved by the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company and the performance of a test alarm conducted by, or on behalf, of the applicant.
Consent to the inspection of the premises where the alarm is located, during working hours or other mutually agreeable times, is given.
Coded to notify third party. All dial alarms shall be coded as well to notify a relative, neighbor, or other third party who shall be named in the registration required by this chapter.
Coded to dial Police Department. All dial alarms shall be coded to dial the Police Department or a special number when designated or provided by the Chief of Police. It shall be the obligation of the Police Department communications center to contact the occupant or a prespecified designee of the occupant when the Police Department receives an audio response to that occupant's alarm system.
Disconnection capability. All dial alarms shall be capable of being disconnected by the owner or his/her designee to permit a call to the Police Department in the event that a false alarm occurs.
Annual fee. The owner of each dial alarm system shall pay to the City an annual fee as set forth in Chapter 155, Fees, § 155-3, to cover the cost of registration and testing and to amortize the cost of the special telephone line or lines which may be required in police headquarters, along with ancillary tape devices necessitated by these systems, and additional record that should be maintained.
False alarm procedures; penalties. The owners of dial alarms shall be governed by the false alarms procedures and penalties set forth in § 52-7 of this chapter.
Dialing nondesignated number. If any dial alarm shall hereafter be found to be dialing a telephone number other than the number designated for dial alarms as specified by the Chief of Police, the occupant of the building, or other persons in whose name the telephone is listed shall be forwarded a notice, in writing, by the Chief of Police requiring compliance with the terms of this chapter. If, within 30 days after receipt of such notice, the occupant or telephone subscriber shall fail to comply (s)he shall be liable to a penalty payable to the City in the sum of $50.
Taped contents; regulations. The taped contents of any recorded message from a dial alarm shall be intelligible and in a form approved by the Chief of Police. No such message shall be transmitted more than three times as a result of single stimulus of the mechanism.
Sensory mechanism. The sensory mechanism of dial alarms shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and not to be activated by impulses due to pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind, noises, rattling or vibration of doors, windows or other forces unrelated to general alarms.
Maintenance of components. All components of dial alarms shall be maintained by the owner or his/her designee in good repair. When evidence exists that there has been failure to comply with the operation requirements of this chapter, the Chief of Police is then authorized to demand that such device be disconnected until such time as compliance with such requirements is reestablished.
Registration required. No person shall install, operate or maintain any alarm system unless such has been registered with the Chief of Police as follows:
The alarm system of each permittee shall be deemed registered at such time as the registration form supplied by the police is completed and a code number is assigned to the permittee.
An alarm system employing the dial alarm shall be deemed registered when the annual dial alarm fee is remitted to the City and the system has been approved by the Chief of Police. (See § 52-4.)
A local alarm system shall be deemed registered when the occupant of the building or store in which it is installed shall have filed with the Chief of Police a registration form which shall include, among other data:
Supplemental or revised registration. No further or renewed registration shall be required unless and until there has occurred any material change in the information previously submitted with respect to any alarm system. It shall be the duty of an occupant of a building or store served by an alarm system, within 10 days after a change of information previously submitted to the City shall have occurred, to file a supplement or revised registration containing accurate current information with respect to the data required by the registration form.
Registration fee. A one-time registration fee as set forth in § 155-3 shall be charged of all permittees desiring to register local or private alarm systems, central station alarm systems or alarm console systems, payable at the time of registration. No charge shall be made for the filing of any amended, revised or supplemental registration.
In addition to any other requirements imposed by this chapter, an alarm business shall not be granted a license to operate, on all or part of its services, a central station servicing central alarms unless the Police Department finds that the central station, if operated, will meet the following minimum requirements:
Compliance with the Standard for Central Station Burglar Alarm Units and Systems (UL 611-1968), issued by Underwriters' Laboratories Inc., or American National Standards Institute (ANSI 2.2, 1971) and any later edition of these standards that may be issued. Such standards are hereby adopted and made a part of this chapter, and a copy of the most recent standards shall be kept on file at the Police Department and be available for public inspection. The service provided may correspond to any of the several grades of service listed in the standards, but in no event shall the owner, claim agent or other person in responsible control of the location wherein such system is located by present longer than one hour at such location, after being request to do so by a representative of the Police Department. Such person shall inspect the alarm system after each activation to ensure proper operation.
Proof of compliance to part of this section shall be provided, in writing, from the alarm business through its legal representative to the Police Department, specifying the minimum acceptable standards pertaining to central stations as outlined in Subsection A above. Such written proof shall not preclude, but shall be in addition to, physical inspection of the premises and equipment by the Police Department and shall further be in addition to and in support of any other section of this chapter.
It shall be the obligation of the central station to contact the occupant or the prespecified designee of the occupant when the system shall become activated by having received a visual or audio response to that occupant's alarm system.
Penalty. In case of a false alarm, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and maintain a record of such alarm or alarms on file. For the first, second and third false alarm in any given calendar year, a warning shall be issued by the Police Department. For the fourth false alarm in the same calendar year, a summons shall be issued to the permittee, incurring a penalty of $50 payable to the Violations Bureau. For the fifth and subsequent false alarms in the same calendar year, summonses shall be issued incurring fines of $100. Upon the ninth false alarm in the same calendar year, a summons will be issued and a court appearance required. Failure to appear in court will subject the permittee to such penalties as may be imposed by the court.
False alarm opportunity. In the event that a false alarm has been activated for any reason, the permittee may call police headquarters and state his/her name, location and the code number which had been assigned to him/her upon registration within 60 seconds of the activation of the alarm, and there will be no false alarm charged against the permittee. If the code number is not given or is given incorrectly, a false alarm will be charged.
Successive malfunctions. In the event of successive malfunctions of a permittee's alarm system within a proximate time period, due to the same or related causes which accidentally activate the system, a permittee shall not be charged for each individual malfunction, but for only a single false alarm, provided that a charge for the permittee is applicable.
Disconnection; revocation of permit. After the sixth false alarm, and if the investigation of the Police Department discloses continued abuse of the privilege of connection with the alarm console and a failure of the permittee to take remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the City shall have the right to require disconnection from the alarm console for a limited or permanent time. No such permit shall be revoked or suspended without giving the permittee an opportunity to show cause before the court as to why such action should not be taken, pursuant to Subsection A above.
Licensee and permittee to be responsible for service. The licensee and each permittee shall be responsible on a twenty-four-hour per-day basis for service to equipment owned by the licensee and permittee. Such service shall be provided within the twenty-four-hour period next following notification by the Police Department of any equipment malfunction.
Under the provisions of this chapter, the Chief of Police, or any authorized representative (s)he may have designated and empowered, shall make a decision with respect to the installation, operation and maintenance of any alarm equipment, or with respect to the issuance or denial of any application relating thereto. Any person aggrieved by such decision may within 10 days following the decision, file a written appeal therefrom with the City Clerk and the Chief of Police, whereupon the Board of Commissioners shall promptly conduct a hearing and affirm, modify or reverse the decision from which the appeal has been taken.
The Chief of Police, after prior consultation with the licensee, from time to time, shall promulgate such rules and regulations in connection with the provisions of this chapter in order to reasonably provide for efficient recordkeeping and management of the system, provided that such rules and regulations, or any revisions thereof, shall not take effect unless and until first approved by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter, in addition to the revocation of the license or permit of such person, or any person found guilty of a failure to comply with any of the rules and regulations duly promulgated pursuant hereto, shall be subject to a fine or penalty not in excess of $200.
Such maximum fine or penalty in the sum of $200 shall not be applicable in those instances in which the maximum fine or penalty has hereinbefore been limited to a lesser amount by this chapter. In the event of a continuing violation, the violator may be found guilty of as many separate offenses or counts as the number of days (s)he is proved to have continued to be in violation of this chapter.