Township of Bernards, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
The purpose of this section is to provide minimum standards and regulations for the use of privately installed emergency alarm systems, to establish permit and registration procedures to facilitate emergency responses of the Township Police and Fire Departments, to establish fees and penalties for violation and to create an administrative apparatus. The provisions of this section shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device or local alarm which is designed to summon the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal agency to any location in response to any type of alarm signal.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
As used in this section:
ALARM CONSOLE
Shall mean the direct wire alarm console or digital receiver alarm console installed in the Bernards Township police headquarters for the purpose of giving a visual and/or audible response to alarm devices installed in the Township of Bernards.
ALARM DEVICE
Shall mean any mechanism designed to actuate the alarm console.
ALARM SYSTEM
Shall mean the installation in one or more buildings, residential or otherwise, of one or more alarm devices or local alarms to provide visual or audible warnings, or both, of an emergency, such as unauthorized intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or similar hazard requiring urgent attention. Alarm system shall not include:
A. 
An alarm installed on or in a vehicle, unless the vehicle is permanently located at a site; nor
B. 
An alarm designed to alert only the inhabitants of a single-family residential premises or residential unit and not designed to be seen, heard or communicated to a third person outside of the particular premises or unit.
AUDIBLE ALARM
Shall mean alarm equipment that emits an audible signal at the premises that it is designed to protect.
CHIEF
Shall mean the Chief of Police of the Township of Bernards or his designee.
DIAL ALARM
Shall mean alarm equipment that employs an automatic dialing system programmed to connect with the police headquarters telephone and emit a prerecorded voice message.
DWELLING
Shall mean a unit or premises occupied or intended to be occupied for residential purposes by a single family.
FALSE ALARM
Shall mean an alarm device or dial alarm actuated for which there is no evidence of an attempted unauthorized entry or for which there exists evidence of an equipment failure or evidence of inadvertence on the part of any permittee, agents, servants and employees requiring a response by police, fire or other municipal agency. False alarms shall include actuations caused by malfunctioning of the alarm device, dial alarm or other relevant equipment but shall not include alarm actuations caused by malfunction of the alarm console or caused by natural forces or other extraordinary circumstances not subject to control by the permittee.
LOCAL ALARM
Shall mean any mechanism, other than a dial alarm, that constitutes, in whole or in part, an alarm system that is not connected with and is not designed to actuate the police alarm console, including any alarm or device which, when actuated, produces an audible signal, such as store burglar alarms actuating bell devices.
OCCUPANT
Shall mean a person in possession of premises in or upon which an alarm system has been installed.
PERMITTEE
Shall mean a person to which a permit has been issued in accordance with Subsection 4-10.5 to install, operate or maintain an alarm system that includes one or more alarm devices.
PERSON
Shall mean any person as defined in Section 1-2.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
a. 
No person shall install, maintain, use or cause to be used any alarm system within the Township unless a permit therefor has been issued by the Chief in accordance with the provisions of this section.
b. 
Every permit issued for an alarm system shall expire on December 31 of the year in which it is issued. No person shall use an alarm system during any period when the permit has expired or is suspended.
c. 
With each permit, the applicant must provide a list of three persons to be contacted in the event of an actuation. This contact person(s) must respond within 30 minutes of contact.
d. 
Local alarm systems with exterior audible alarms are prohibited.
e. 
No dial alarms shall be permitted, with the exception of those which were registered in the permittee's name prior to the passage of this section and those which are registered in connection with the Medical Alert Program conducted by the Bernardsville Rotary Club and supervised by the Chief. Such alarms shall only be allowed as long as the permittee owns or occupies the premises in which the alarm system is installed.
f. 
All alarm devices shall be installed in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 5:23 et seq., the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code. All fire alarm devices shall be installed with the approval of the fire official and in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:18, the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
a. 
Fees for alarm system permits shall be $50 for a direct line to police headquarters and $25 for all other private alarm systems, including warning and sounding devices.
b. 
The fee shall not be prorated by reason of the date upon which an application is filed, but the fee shall be refunded to the applicant in the event that a permit is not issued.
c. 
Any person who fails to obtain a renewal permit on or before January 31 of each year shall pay a surcharge of $10. Such person shall also remain liable for the penalties.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
The Chief shall issue a permit for an alarm system unless the Chief concludes that the system covered by the application does not meet the applicable standards of this section. A copy of each permit should be forwarded to the Bureau of Fire Prevention by the Chief. Whenever the Chief shall refuse to issue a permit, he shall advise the applicant, in writing, of the reason or reasons for refusal. Registration shall be required for each alarm system within the Township on the effective date of this section. Users of alarm systems in place on that date shall complete the registration form within 30 days after this section takes effect.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
Any person utilizing an alarm system shall complete and file with the Chief a registration form, which may be obtained from the Police Department, correctly containing the following information:
a. 
Full name, address and telephone number of the applicant, including an address description which will permit the appropriate municipal department to respond to the alarm.
b. 
Common name of the alarm premises.
c. 
Name and address of the person installing, maintaining and/or owning the alarm system.
d. 
Description of the alarm system's operation, including, not by way of limitation, activation points of the alarm system and the mechanism or mechanisms by which the alarm system becomes activated.
e. 
Name, address and telephone number of the person monitoring and initially responding to an activation of the alarm system.
f. 
Name, address and telephone numbers of three responsible persons other than the permittee to be contacted in case of alarm and/or malfunction, commonly referred to as "key-holders." The Chief may grant waivers if he determines three key-holders cannot be provided by the permittee.
g. 
Any additional relevant information specifically requested by the Chief.
h. 
Provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures.
If there has occurred any material change in the information previously submitted with respect to any alarm system by the alarm user, it shall be the duty of the alarm user, within ten days of such material change, to file a supplemental or revised registration form containing accurate current information. This section shall include, but is in no way limited to, the disconnection of said alarm. Failure to comply with these provisions will be deemed a violation of this section and subject the violator to the penalties contained herein.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
All permits for alarm systems shall be issued upon the following terms and conditions:
a. 
A permit shall be issued for each separate improved property, store, building or facility, and no permit shall be transferred or assigned in any manner.
b. 
Every alarm system connected directly to the Police Department command desk shall have a voltage compatible system therewith.
c. 
Every permittee shall be subject to the rules and standards set forth in this section.
d. 
If an alarm system is disconnected, the permittee shall give written notice to the Police Department within seven days of such disconnection. Any permittee who fails to give the notice required under this subsection shall be subject to the penalties contained herein.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
Any permit issued for an alarm system may be suspended by the Chief if it appears that:
a. 
The permittee has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit or has failed to comply with rules or standards promulgated by the Chief concerning alarm systems.
b. 
The permittee or his agents knowingly installed or maintained a faulty alarm system.
c. 
The permittee or his agents failed to comply with a request by the Chief to render necessary services to a faulty alarm system within 36 hours after such request was made or failed to disconnect such alarm system that has not been repaired. Five false alarms within any calendar year shall constitute prima facie evidence that an alarm system is faulty.
d. 
In the event that the Chief shall determine that a permit for an alarm system shall be suspended by reason of the provisions of this subsection, the Chief shall notify the permittee of the suspension in writing, by certified mail, to the last known address setting forth the reason or reasons for the suspension.
e. 
A suspension shall be terminated by the Chief when he is satisfied that the conditions stated in the notice of suspension have been corrected.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
Any unauthorized alarm system or equipment shall be disconnected by the Chief or his designated representative for noncompliance with this section, and any person installing or maintaining an unauthorized alarm system equipment shall be prosecuted for violation of this section, and each day such equipment is in operation shall be considered a separate violation.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief in the denial or suspension of a permit for an alarm system shall have the right of appeal to the Township Administrator. The appeal shall be taken by filing with the Township Administrator, within ten calendar days after the notice of action complaint has been mailed to the person's last known address, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for appeal. The Township Administrator shall set a time and place for hearing of the appeal and notice of the hearing shall be given to the appellant by certified mail to his last known address at least five calendar days prior to the date set for hearing. The decisions of the Township Administrator and the reasons therefor shall be set forth in writing by the Township Administrator.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted; Ord. #2029, 10-14-2008, amended]
a. 
In the case of a false alarm, any person, permittee or his agent or representative having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify the Township Police Department.
b. 
Where a person, permittee or his agent or representative notifies the Township Police Department within 60 seconds of the activation of the alarm, the actuation shall not be deemed to be a false alarm for the purpose of imposing penalties upon the permittee.
c. 
The Chief shall cause an investigation to be made of all false alarms and a record of such false alarms kept on file.
1. 
For false alarms within any 12 consecutive months, the following penalties shall apply:
Number of False Alarms
If Registered
If No Current Registration
For the first 3
A written warning shall be issued.
$100 (each occurance)
For the 4th
$100
$200
For the 5th
$200
$300
For the 6th
$300
$400
For the 7th and each subsequent
$400
$500
2. 
All fines under this section may be joint and several against all persons owning an alarm device, any occupant of a premises in which an alarm device is installed, and any alarm company or contractor.
3. 
All false alarms, commencing with the first, which occur while construction, alteration or renovations are occurring at the site, or when the alarm systems are being serviced, maintained or repaired, and the person conducting such work fails to notify the Township Fire and Police Departments that such work is being conducted, may be issued a summons to the individual or contractor performing the construction, alteration or renovations, and carry a penalty of $200, in addition to any and all other penalties provided in this section.
d. 
No alarm activations during the thirty-day period immediately following the installation of an alarm system shall be deemed to be a false alarm, so long as the system has been issued a permit provided in § 4-10.3 above.
e. 
Where the investigation of the Police Department discloses the failure of a permittee or occupant to take remedial steps to prevent false alarms, the Chief may require said permittee or occupant to disconnect the alarm system, provided that no permit shall be revoked or suspended or system be required to be disconnected without giving the permittee or occupant an opportunity to show cause before the Township Administrator why such action should not be taken.
f. 
All fines shall be issued by summonses, which are answerable to the Bernards Township Municipal Court.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
Neither the Township nor the police department shall assume any responsibility whatsoever with respect to the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm system. No action taken by the Township or the Police Department pursuant to the provisions of this section shall create any liability upon the Township or the Police Department by reason of any failure of any alarm system, any failure to respond to any emergency or any act or omission relating to any alarm system.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
By installing an alarm system and registering same with the Township, each alarm user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Township, its agents, servants and employees from and against all claims, suits, damages, costs, losses and expenses and to release the Township, its agents, servants and employees from any and all liability or damages in any way resulting from or arising out of or connected with the installation, operation or maintenance of the alarm system or any act or omission connected therewith.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted]
The Chief may from time to time promulgate written rules and regulations supplementing this section to provide for recordkeeping and efficient management of the system, provided that no such rules and regulations shall be effective until the Township Committee shall first approve such rules and regulations, or any amendments thereto, by appropriate resolution.
[Ord. #1329, 12-29-1998, adopted; Ord. #2029, 10-14-2008, amended]
Any person found guilty in the Municipal Court of the Township for violation of the terms of this section other than for violating the terms of Subsection 4.10-11, which provides specific penalties for violations thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days, or both. Responsibility for enforcement of the provisions of this section, including but not limited to fines, disconnections, summons and permit suspensions shall be the Police Department, Construction Official or Fire Official.