[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Madison 8-14-1972 by Ord. No. 13-72 (Art. 62 of the 1970 Revised Ordinances); amended in its entirety 12-13-1999 by Ord. No. 41-99. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish standards, procedures and controls for all types of intrusion, burglar, fire and other emergency alarm devices which are designed, directly or indirectly, to summon assistance from the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal department, agency or official.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM AGENT
- Any person who is employed by any business, firm, corporation or other commercial entity for the business of owning, operating, maintaining, installing, leasing or selling alarm devices whose duties include any of the following: selling, maintaining, leasing, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing in or on any building, place or premises any alarm device within the Borough of Madison.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business, firm, corporation or other commercial entity which is in the business of owning or operating, maintaining, installing, leasing or selling alarm device or devices or a system of alarm devices, which business, firm, corporation or other commercial entity is an owner, operator, provider of maintenance service, installer or lessor or seller-of said devices or systems of devices.
- ALARM CONSOLE
- The console or control panel of devices producing a visual or audio response, or both, and located within the Municipal Building of the Borough.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any device or mechanism used or designed for detection and warning of unauthorized entry, fire, smoke, flood or other perils, but specifically excluding local alarm mechanisms located entirely within enclosed residential buildings.
- ALARM INSTALLATION
- Any alarm device or aggregate of alarm devices installed on or within a single building or on or within more than one building or other structure on a common site, at a specific location.
- CENTRAL ALARM STATION
- Any facility operated by a private firm that owns or leases a system of emergency alarm devices, which facility is manned at all times by trained operators employed to receive, record and validate alarm signals and to relay information concerning such validated signals to the police or fire dispatch room.
- DIGITAL DIALED ALARM
- Any alarm device which automatically or electronically selects a telephone trunk line of the Police or Fire Department of the Borough and then delivers a signal or reproduces a prerecorded digital message to report a criminal act or other emergency. This specifically excludes tape dialers.
- DIRECT ALARM
- Any alarm device connected directly by leased telephone wires from a specific location to the radio dispatch room at the Municipal Building.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal or message received by the Police or Fire Department and to which either or both respond, which signal or message was directly or indirectly brought about or produced by an alarm device of any type, but which was not the result of criminal activity or other emergency and which was not created by malfunction of the alarm console within the Municipal Building.
- HOLDUP ALARM
- Any police alarm device actuated by a holdup, robbery or theft at a specific location.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm device which, when actuated, produces an audible signal beyond the boundaries of the premises or visible signal designed to notify persons within audible or visible range of the signal that a criminal act or other emergency is occurring or has occurred.
- The Borough of Madison or any department, agency or officer duly authorized to act on behalf of the municipality.
- Any private individual, partnership, corporation or firm which holds a permit from the municipality to use an alarm device on premises owned or leased by it.
Except as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any individual, partnership, corporation or firm to operate or maintain an alarm device, as defined by this chapter, without a valid permit.
Any individual, partnership, corporation or firm which owns and operates or maintains an alarm device or devices shall make application to the Chief of Police for a permit therefor on forms supplied by the Police Department. The application shall specify:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner and user of the alarm installation.
The exact location of the alarm device or devices.
The name and address of the installer of said device.
The specific type of alarm detecting device.
The name and address of the individual or firm regularly servicing said alarm device, if any.
Provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures.
A list of names and addresses of persons to be contacted in the event of an alarm.
other information relating to the alarm device reasonably required by the Chief of Police.
A certification of twenty-four-hour emergency service.
Addresses of subscribers or persons authorized by subscribers to respond.
Applications for all permits, existing and new alarm installations, must be filed on or before June 1 succeeding the adoption of this chapter. All alarm permits shall be accompanied by an annual fee payable to the municipality in accordance with the schedule of fees hereinafter set forth.
[Amended 6-24-2013 by Ord. No. 24-2013]
All permits shall expire May 31 of the following year. A renewal application must be accompanied by an annual fee payable to the municipality in accordance with the schedule of fees hereinafter set forth. Any alarm renewal application/or renewal fee that is not filed or paid prior to July 1 shall result in an additional late fee of $25 for each month the renewal application and/or renewal fee is past due. The renewal application, on forms supplied by the Police Department, shall provide for any changes in information from that contained in the original application or in the most recent renewal application.
[Amended 12-9-2002 by Ord. No. 39-2002; 6-24-2013 by Ord. No. 24-2013]
The Chief of Police is the designated official of the municipality to issue and renew permits, to remove or suspend permits and to otherwise enforce and apply the provisions of this chapter.
An application for a permit or permit renewal may be denied if the Chief of Police disapproves of the equipment intended to be used or continued by the applicant or the manner of use thereof or if the applicant has violated any other provision of this chapter or is in default in the payment of the annual fee.
All permits as may be granted hereunder shall be accepted upon the express condition that:
The permittee shall defend, indemnify and save harmless the municipality and its authorized officials, agents and employees from and against any and all damages, costs, expenses and liabilities arising out of the acts or failure to act of the municipality, the permittee, the alarm contractor or any one or more of them, or arising out of any defects, deficiencies or inadequacies in any alarm device or devices for which a permit has been granted or in any installation, monitoring or maintenance thereof or by reason of any malfunction or defect in the operation or maintenance of the alarm console.
The permittee shall pay an annual alarm fee to the Borough of Madison due on the first of June each year as follows:
[Amended 6-24-2013 by Ord. No. 24-2013]
There shall be no fees under this section due from municipal governmental entities of the Borough of Madison, which entities include the Madison Board of Education, the Madison Housing Authority and the Madison Free Public Library.
[Added 5-30-2001 by Ord. No. 20-2001]
All applications for renewal of a permit must be filed with the Chief of Police by June 1 of each year together with the renewal fees as specified by resolution of the Borough Council. Any alarm renewal application and/or renewal fee that is not filed or paid prior to July 1 shall result in an additional late fee of $25 for each month the renewal application and/or renewal fee is past due.
[Added 12-9-2002 by Ord. No. 39-2002; amended 6-24-2013 by Ord. No. 24-2013]
The Borough of Madison and its various departments, agencies and officials shall be under no duty or obligation to any permittee or to any other person or persons with respect to the adequacy, operation, installation, repair or maintenance of the alarm console equipment and any allied or related equipment or services and assumes no liability in connection therewith. Upon issuance of a permit hereunder, the permit holder hereby agrees to hold and save harmless the Borough of Madison and its departments, agencies and officials from any liability or damages suffered as a result of or arising out of improper or faulty installation, operation or maintenance of any police or fire alarm system of the permittee or the improper or faulty installation, operation or maintenance of the alarm console at the Municipal Building. No action taken by the Borough or, the Borough Police Department pursuant to the provisions of this section shall create any liability upon the Borough or the Borough Police Department by reason of any failure of any alarm system or local alarm any failure to respond to any emergency or any act of omission or commission relating to any alarm system or local alarm.
A permit may be denied, suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police, either temporarily or permanently, upon 30 days' written notice to the permittee, for any one or more of the following reasons:
Failure or refusal of the permittee or his agent or employee to immediately comply with a request by a member of the Police or Fire Department to proceed to the location of the permittee's alarm and render services as requested.
Knowingly installing or maintaining an inferior or faulty alarm system. Nine false alarms in any one twelve-month period shall be prima facie evidence that such an alarm system is knowingly a faulty device. A permittee shall repair or replace any alarm found to be inferior or defective by the Fire or Police Chief within 14 days after notice thereof.
Failure or refusal of the permittee to pay the required initial connection fee or annual fee where the alarm system of the permittee is directly connected to the console.
A breach of any of the terms or conditions of the permit or the failure or refusal of the permittee to comply with all of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Police or Fire Chief as hereinafter provided..
Abuse of the privilege of owning or operating an alarm system to the detriment of the public.
The holder of any permit, except in the case of a permit issued for a publicly owned building, shall be assessed a service fee for each false alarm in excess of five in any twelve-month period. The Police Chief may, in his discretion, waive any fines to a holder of a permit that is a local municipal governmental entity, including the Madison Board of Education, the Madison Housing Authority and the Madison Free Public Library. However, no fine shall be waived for an independent contractor to a municipal local governmental entity for a violation of this chapter caused by such independent contractor. The service fee shall be as follows:
[Amended 5-30-2001 by Ord. No. 20-2001]
Said fees shall be paid to the Borough of Madison within 30 days of service or written notice upon the permittee of assessment of the fees. The written notice shall state the date and time of each false alarm attributable to the permittee for the year in which the notice is given.
In addition to the service fees for false alarms, where investigation by the Police Department shows that false alarms continue to result due to the failure of the permittee to take corrective action to avoid false alarms, or in the event that the permittee shall fail to remit the required service fee, the permittee shall disconnect and deactivate the alarm system within 10 days of receipt of written notice from the Chief of Police to do so. The Chief of Police is authorized to disconnect the system from the console. Each and every day after the 10 days in which the permittee shall fail to comply with the notice to disconnect shall constitute a separate violation of this provision.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Police Chief in denying a permit or in the suspension or revocation of any permit provided for by this chapter may appeal to the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Madison by filing a written notice of appeal with the Borough Clerk within 30 days of the alleged wrongful or improper act of the Police Chief.
All alarm devices shall be installed in accordance with all applicable municipal and governmental laws, ordinances and requirements.
Any permittee utilizing the services of any other alarm company connected to the Borough console shall provide for a representative to be on call at all times, and adequate service shall be provided within eight hours of notification by the Police or Fire Department of any malfunctioning or faulty equipment. All connections to the Borough console shall be made by the contractor selected by the Borough to maintain the Borough console at a fee to be paid by the permittee as set forth in § 54-4.
Any unauthorized equipment may be disconnected by the Chief of Police or his designated representative for noncompliance with this chapter; any person installing, maintaining or using unauthorized equipment shall be prosecuted for violation of this chapter, and each and every day said equipment is in use shall be considered a separate violation.
A permittee shall respond to the source of a signal or transmission from an alarm device as promptly as possible after the actuation of such device and shall contact the Police or Fire Department dispatched to the scene. The permittee shall relieve the police or firefighter in charge whenever there is no apparent fire or criminal activity at the scene of the alarm.
Any permittee shall be deemed to have consented to inspection of the premises on which said alarm device is installed, at reasonable hours, by the Police or Fire Chief or his designated representative. This provision shall not be construed to impose a duty on the municipality to make inspections or to relieve the alarm owner from inspecting, testing and maintaining his own alarm device(s).
If the location of the fire or police communications facilities should be changed at any time, permittees or licensees under this chapter shall not be permitted to charge the municipality with any resulting cost of moving the alarm equipment.
All costs and recurring charges incurred in the installation and maintenance of alarm systems shall be borne by the permittee except where this chapter indicates that such costs shall be paid by the licensee.
No person shall use or cause or permit to be used any alarm device that automatically selects a telephone trunk line of the Police Department or Fire Department of the Borough of Madison and then reproduces any prerecorded voice message to report a robbery, burglary, fire or other emergency. This shall not affect any alarm device that has been approved by the effective date of this provision, nor shall it have any effect on equipment used by the Madison Police Department.
All local alarms, as defined in § 54-2, must be equipped with a device or devices that limit the audible signal to a duration not to exceed 10 minutes. In any case where the alarm system and/or local alarm emits sound for more than 10 minutes in violation of this section, or for periodic intervals exceeding 10 minutes each repeatedly, or of any provisions of this chapter, the operation or maintenance of the alarm system shall be deemed to constitute the grant of permission by the owners and occupants of the premises for law enforcement, first aid or fire officials to enter the said premises and investigate and to disconnect the alarm system. The owners and occupants, by operating or maintaining the alarm system, agree to hold harmless and defend the Borough or its law enforcement, first aid or fire officials, agents and employees from any and all claims for such entry on the premises and any liability and damages that may occur. The minimum fine for violation of this section shall be $25 with a maximum of $500.
Any alarm produced by any alarm system shall clearly distinguish between intrusion-related alarms and fire-related alarms. No alarm system shall be permitted that produces the same or similar signal from both calls, nor shall any alarm system be permitted that produces the same or similar signal for more than one location.
All alarm agents and alarm businesses as defined in § 54-2 that are presently conducting or intend to conduct business within the Borough of Madison shall register with the Police Department prior to conducting business. The Police Department shall provide a registration form, which shall require the alarm agent or business agent to provide the following information:
Alarm agents; penalties.
All alarm agents must notify the Madison Police Department by telephone prior to performing any tests or repairs on any alarm system within the Borough other than fire alarm systems. All alarm agents must notify the Madison Fire Department by telephone prior to performing any tests or repairs on any fire alarm system within the Borough.
Violations of more than four per year from any one alarm system site or location shall be grounds for the Borough, in its discretion, to terminate the permit for connection to the Borough console.
Any assessment of penalty under this subsection shall preclude a penalty to the permittee for a false alarm for such incident.
Payment of penalties under this subsection. Said penalties shall be paid to the Borough of Madison within 30 days of service or written notice upon the alarm agent of assessment of the penalty. The written notice shall state the date and time attributable to the alarm agent's violation of this section for the year in which the notice is given.
Notification of Use. Every individual, partnership, corporation or firm who installs, maintains or uses a local alarm with an audible warning signal within the Borough shall notify the Chief of Police of such local alarm by completing and filing with the Chief of Police a form to be furnished by the Chief of Police providing for the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the owner and/or occupant of the property served by the local alarm.
The location of the property served.
The name, address and telephone number of any company maintaining the local alarm.
The name and telephone number of a person to be notified of a faulty local alarm at any time when no one is present on the property served by the local alarm.
Such other reasonable information as requested by the Police Department in regard to such device.
Proper maintenance. Every person who installs, maintains or uses a local alarm to serve an improved property within the Borough shall promptly correct or disconnect any faulty device upon notice from the Police Department. Nine false alarms within any twelve-month period shall constitute prima facie evidence that a local alarm is faulty. Fines and penalties for violation of this section shall be as set forth in § 54-6B(1) of this chapter.
[Amended 8-14-2000 by Ord. No. 35-2000; 5-8-2006 by Ord. No. 19-2006]
Any person, firm, corporation or other organization found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter, for which there is no specific penalty set forth in this chapter, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by one or more of the following in the discretion of the Judge: a fine of not to exceed $2,000; or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days; or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. In the event that a fine is imposed, pursuant to this section, such fine shall be no less than $100.