[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Suffield 11-27-1990 by Ord. No. 90-04 (Ch. 12, Art. II, of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide uniform standards of control and regulations for the installation, use and maintenance of alarm systems or devices.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person, business, firm or corporation who or which operates, maintains, leases or owns any alarm system or device that is intended to summon police and/or fire emergency vehicles and/or personnel of the Town of Suffield in response to an alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM OR DEVICE
- An assembly of equipment and devices arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire personnel are expected to respond. In this chapter, the term "alarm system or device" shall include but not be limited to the terms "automatic tape dialing device," "burglary alarm systems," "holdup alarm systems," "manual holdup alarm systems" and "fire alarm systems" as those terms are commonly used.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, business, corporation, union, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other organization or group of persons who or which owns or occupies premises within the Town of Suffield upon which is maintained an alarm system or device.
- Any person, business, corporation, firm or partnership in the business of supplying, installing, servicing and maintaining alarm systems or devices.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of the owner's or lessee's employees or agents or of any alarm user as previously defined herein. Such terminology does not include alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other violent conditions or acts of nature. "False alarm" shall not mean alarms transmitted because of a water main break or similar causes that occur outside of protected property and are not within the control of the alarm user.
Each alarm user shall register the alarm system with the Suffield Police Department prior to use, provided that alarm systems already in use as of the effective date of this chapter may be registered no later than 60 days from such date. Each alarm user shall be required to apply for and receive written approval from the Chief of Police prior to installation of any new alarm system.
Alarm system registration shall be accomplished by completing a form provided by the Suffield Police Department to include such information as the Chief of Police deems relevant.
July 1 shall be the anniversary date for all registrations. All registrations shall expire three years after they are issued. Re-registrations shall be processed in the same manner as applications for the initial registration.
It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user to notify the Chief of Police, in writing, of any changes in registration information within 15 days of said change.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the Town of Suffield, its departments, officers, agents and/or employees shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm system or of the alarm monitoring facilities at Police and Fire Department locations. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm systems or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to alarms or for any other omission in connection with such alarm systems.
Each alarm user agrees to be responsible for the alarm system's operation and shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the Town of Suffield, its departments, officers, agents and employees from any liability whatsoever in connection with such alarm system or in regard to the Town's response to any alarm signal.
The enforcement and administration of this chapter, and any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, shall be the function of the Alarm Review Board.
Upon registration and initial installation there shall be a thirty-day grace period prior to the calculation of false alarms. Said grace period shall be waived after the receipt of seven false alarms during that period.
No more than four false alarms from any one protected property per calendar year after the termination of the grace period shall be permitted without the imposition of a fine.
After a finding by the Chief of Police of a third false alarm from any one protected property per calendar year, the alarm user may be notified, in writing, by the Police Department. Such notification shall require that the alarm system be inspected by the installing alarm contractor or, if impossible, by an alarm systems contractor in good standing who shall review alarm procedures with all employees or members of the household. After said notice is sent, the user shall forward to the Police Department proof that the alarm system has been inspected and is in good working order.
Upon receipt of the fifth false alarm from any one protected property per calendar year, the alarm user shall be fined $25; a fine of $25 shall also be imposed for the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth false alarm received in that calendar year. For false alarms number 10, 11, 12 and 13, a fine of $50 per false alarm shall be imposed. For false alarms number 14, 15, 16 and 17, a fine of $75 per false alarm shall be imposed. For any subsequent false alarm in that calendar year, said alarm user shall be fined $100 for said false alarm. The Police Department shall send written notice of the fine to the alarm user registered at said property.
In addition to any other penalty set forth in this chapter, if an alarm user fails to comply with any requirement of this chapter, the Police Chief may order by written notice the alarm user to disconnect his alarm system from the Police Department and to remove any equipment or indicators connected in the Police Department and may indicate in said order that failure to obey shall result in disconnection by the Town. If he/she fails to obey the order within three days from the receipt of the order, exclusive of Saturday, Sunday and holidays, the Town may disconnect the alarm system and remove any equipment or indicators at the expense of the violator.
The Town of Suffield, upon notification by the Alarm Review Board, may institute civil proceedings to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Any alarm user deemed to be in violation of this chapter shall be liable for all collection costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
There shall be an Alarm Review Board of the Town of Suffield, which shall have the powers and duties granted to it under this chapter. The Alarm Review Board shall consist of three members, specifically the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief and an elector of the Town of Suffield who shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen for a term of four years to be served without compensation commencing January 1, 1991. Three members of said Board shall be necessary to constitute a quorum. All decisions shall be by a majority vote.
Any alarm user accused of violating any provision of this chapter and/or aggrieved because of the imposition of any fines under this chapter may appeal within 10 days of the date of the written notice issued by the Town of Suffield by mailing a written request for appeal within said ten-day period. When an appeal is timely filed, the Suffield Police Department shall schedule a hearing before the Alarm Review Board and shall mail notice of the time and place of said hearing to the accused alarm user at the address provided in the registration form at least 15 days before said hearing. Said notice shall also be filed with the Suffield Town Clerk's office.
On the basis of information provided by the alarm user or any other information allowed to be introduced at the hearing, the Board shall affirm the fines or disconnection, if it finds that the fines and/or disconnection was properly imposed, or rescind the fines or disconnection if it finds that said penalties were improperly imposed. Upon the Board's determination, written notice shall be sent to the alarm user within seven days of the Board's decision.
An appeal shall not deter appropriate Police and/or Fire Department action during the appeal period. Referral to the Town Attorney to institute civil proceedings to enforce the provisions of this chapter may be deferred until the appeal to the Alarm Review Board is completed.
The Chief of Police, with the cooperation and approval of the Fire Chief, shall compile a continuous record of all false alarms, disconnections and of all written notices and orders given to alarm users and/or alarm system contractors. Such record shall indicate the number and frequency of false alarms and may also include information concerning particular alarm systems or devices, alarm system contractors or the factual source of false alarms, so attributable to false alarms or alarm system problems.
Information included in this record concerning particular alarm users, alarm system contractors or factual sources causing false alarms shall be divulged without the written consent of the alarm user or if deemed necessary by the Chief of Police or Fire Chief to protect and promote the public welfare or if deemed necessary to comply with the State of Connecticut Freedom of Information Law.
Editor's Note: See Connecticut General Statutes § 1-200 et seq.
Information included in this record shall include a calculation of all fines and costs collected under this chapter. All such monies shall be turned over to the Town Treasurer for deposit into the Town's general funds.