City of New Rochelle, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of New Rochelle 9-16-1997 by Ord. No. 188-97.[1]; amended in its entirety 11-18-1997 by Ord. No. 249-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Ch. 81, Alarm Systems, adopted 7-10-1972 by Ord. No. 206-1972, as amended. This ordinance also provided that it shall take effect 1-1-1988.

§ 81-1 Applicability.

This chapter is intended to regulate the activities and responsibilities of those persons who purchase, rent or use and those persons who own or conduct the business of selling, renting, maintaining or monitoring alarm systems, devices or services. It is further intended to encourage the improvement in reliability of these systems, devices and services and to ensure that Police Department and Fire Department personnel will not be unduly diverted from responding to actual emergencies as a result of responding to false alarms. This chapter specifically encompasses burglar alarms, robbery alarms, fire alarms and holdup alarms both audible and inaudible (silent). The provisions of this chapter, except § 81-17, shall not apply to alarm systems which are owned or maintained by the City of New Rochelle and installed on premises in which the City has a property interest.

§ 81-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACT OF GOD
An unusual, extraordinary, sudden and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature, which cannot be prevented by reasonable human care, skill or foresight.
ALARM OR ALARM SYSTEM
Any electrical instrument(s) or other device(s) which as one of its purposes is used to protect buildings, premises or persons from fire or criminal acts or unauthorized entries by warning persons of a crime or unauthorized entry through the emission or transmission of a sound or signal.
ALARM BUSINESS
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity who (which) owns or conducts the business of any one or more of the following: selling, leasing, renting, maintaining or monitoring alarm systems, devices or services.
ALARM MONITORING UNIT
A unit under the direction of the Police and Fire Commissioners which administers the Alarm Systems Ordinance of the City of New Rochelle.
ALARM REVIEW BOARD
The Alarm Review Board shall consist of one representative of the Police Commissioner, one representative of the Fire Commissioner, one representative of the community approved by the City Manager and one representative of the alarm industry approved by the City Manager.
ALARM SUBSCRIBER
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other business who (which) leases, rents or purchases any monitored alarm system, device or service from an alarm business or who (which) leases or rents an audible alarm system or device.
AUDIBLE ALARM
A device designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry on premises and which when activated generates an audible sound on the premises.
AUTOMATIC DIALER
Any electrical, electronic, mechanical or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message, when activated or if self-activated over a telephone line, radio or other communication system to the Police or Fire Departments, generates an audible sound on the premises.
FALSE ALARMS
Any activation of an alarm not caused by a fire or as a result of a criminal act or unauthorized entry, except for activation for testing purposes when the Police Department or Fire Department has been given advance notice of such testing or activation caused by the Police Department.
FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
A system or portion of a combination system consisting of components and circuits arranged to monitor and annunciate the status of fire alarm or supervisory signal initiating devices and to initiate appropriate response to those signals.
MONITORED ALARM
A device designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry in premises and which when activated generates an inaudible signal to a monitoring station. A monitoring alarm may also generate an audible sound on the premises.
PROPRIETOR ALARM
Any alarm or alarm system which is not leased or rented from or owned or maintained under contract by an alarm business.
ROBBERY, HOLDUP OR PANIC ALARM
A device designed for the detection of a robbery, holdup or the commission of an unlawful act within the premises protected by the alarm system and which may be intentionally activated by a person, generates an inaudible signal to the monitoring station and may or may not generate an audible sound at the premises.

§ 81-3 Administration.

The provisions of this chapter shall be administered in a manner prescribed by the Police Commissioner and Fire Commissioner.

§ 81-4 Alarm business duties.

The duties of an alarm business shall be as follows:
A. 
To file a copy of its New York State license to engage in the business of installing, servicing or maintaining security or fire alarm systems.
B. 
To submit to the Police Commissioner a list of all alarms installed within the jurisdiction.
C. 
To install an alarm or alarm system compatible with the environment and be available to maintain the alarm or alarm system in good working order and to take reasonable measures to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.
D. 
To instruct each of its alarm subscribers and/or the principal occupants of the buildings or premises protected by an alarm system in the proper use and operation of the system. Such instructions will specifically include all necessary instructions in turning the alarm on and off and in avoiding false alarms.
E. 
To provide each purchaser and subscriber with a copy of the provisions of this chapter relating to alarm subscriber duties, false alarm assessments and appeal procedures.
F. 
Upon leasing or renting an alarm system:
(1) 
To conspicuously place on the premises a tag identifying the pertinent alarm business, including the telephone number to call when the alarm has been activated.
(2) 
To maintain records of the location of these alarm systems, devices or services and the name and telephone number of the person and an alternate to be notified whenever the alarm is activated and to readily report such information to the alarm monitoring unit upon request.
(3) 
To inactivate or cause to be inactivated the audible alarm within 15 minutes of the notification of its activation in the event the primary and alternate cannot be contacted or do not respond.
G. 
Upon leasing, renting, selling or monitoring an alarm system:
(1) 
To establish a central receiving station in order to monitor these alarm systems.
(2) 
To organize its central receiving station in order to be able to readily and positively identify the type of alarm, i.e., fire, burglary, robbery, holdup or a panic, and the location of the alarm, if there is more than one system.
(3) 
To maintain records as to each of these alarm systems, devices or services which should include the name of the owner or occupant of the premises, the name and telephone number of the subscriber or primary person and at least one alternate responsible for responding to the premises when the alarm is activated and information concerning whether the alarm system includes an audible alarm.
(4) 
To make notification of activated alarm systems in the manner prescribed by the Police Commissioner and/or Fire Commissioner, including such reasonable information concerning the alarm system as the Police Department and/or Fire Department may request.
(5) 
To verify all alarms except panic, duress or holdup alarms prior to police notification.
H. 
To cease responsibility for an alarm system pursuant to this chapter, the alarm business shall promptly notify the alarm monitoring unit in the event the alarm business ceases to lease, rent, maintain, service or monitor any alarm system. Said notice shall be sent within 10 days of the date service or responsibility is discontinued.
I. 
Alarm businesses which do not monitor, maintain, service or install alarms or alarm systems shall not be subject to Subsections C, D, E, F, G or H of this section, but shall be responsible for instructing each person who purchases an alarm or alarm system in the proper use and operation of the alarm, informing each alarm subscriber or alarm purchaser to contact the New Rochelle Police Department or Fire Department for information regarding this chapter and advising each alarm subscriber or alarm purchaser of the requirement of an alarm subscriber permit. Such instructions will specifically include all necessary instructions in turning off said alarm(s) and in avoiding false alarms.
J. 
Alarm businesses which monitor but do not sell, lease, rent, install, service or maintain alarms or alarm systems shall not be subject to Subsections C, D, E or F of this section, but shall inform each alarm subscriber or alarm proprietor that an alarm subscriber permit is required by this chapter.
K. 
Alarm businesses which sell or install alarms or alarm systems but do not lease, rent, monitor, service or maintain them shall not be subject to Subsections C, F, G or H of this section, but shall inform each alarm subscriber or alarm proprietor that an alarm subscriber permit is required by this chapter.

§ 81-5 Alarm subscriber duties.

The duties of an alarm subscriber shall be as follows:
A. 
To instruct all personnel who are authorized to place the system or device into operation in the appropriate method of operation, and to lock and secure all points of entry, such as doors and windows.
B. 
To inform all personnel who are authorized to place the alarm system into operation of the provisions of this chapter emphasizing the importance of avoiding false alarms. A current copy of the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained on the premises and be made available to persons who are authorized to place an alarm system into operation.
C. 
To apply for an alarm subscriber permit from the alarm monitoring unit.

§ 81-6 Proprietor alarm responsibilities.

A. 
To be familiar with the provisions of this chapter and to apply for an alarm subscriber permit from the alarm monitoring unit.
B. 
To maintain the alarm or alarm system in good working order and take reasonable measures to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.
C. 
To notify the Police Department and Fire Department of the name and telephone number of the primary person, and at least one alternate, to be notified in case the alarm is activated.
D. 
Upon the purchase of any alarm system, device or service which includes an audible alarm:
(1) 
To notify the Police Department of the name, address and telephone number of the primary person and at least one alternate who should be notified when the alarm is activated.
(2) 
To inactivate or cause to be inactivated the alarm system within 15 minutes of notification of its activation.

§ 81-7 Warning notice.

[Amended 5-21-2013 by Ord. No. 96-2013[1]]
When an alarm system generates two false alarms within a consecutive twenty-four-month period, the Police Commissioner or Fire Commissioner or their respective designee shall send a warning notice to the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner that any additional subsequent false alarms within said period will subject the notified parties to the sanctions as provided herein.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 10-1-2013.

§ 81-8 Police review of false alarms.

[Amended 1-15-2002 by Ord. No. 15-2002; 12-14-2004 by Ord. No. 284-2004; 5-21-2013 by Ord. No. 96-2013[1]]
A. 
Any alarm system which has three or more alarms within a consecutive twenty-four-month period shall be subject to assessment as provided herein.
B. 
If three or more false alarms are recorded within a consecutive twenty-four-month period from a specific subscriber or proprietor:
(1) 
The alarm monitoring unit shall notify the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner by mail of such fact and direct that a report be submitted to the alarm monitoring unit within 20 days of the date of the mailing. The report shall contain:
(a) 
Specific defenses, if any, why the alleged false alarms should not be considered false alarms. Evidence that a false alarm was caused by an act of God shall constitute affirmative defense to an assessment for the particular false alarm.
(2) 
The report required in Subsection B(1) shall be received by the alarm monitoring unit within the time specified. If the report is not timely submitted, any notified party shall be deemed to have waived his right to any further review or hearing as provided herein, and the alarm business and the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner operating the alarm system generating the false alarms will be assessed pursuant to Subsection B(5) of this section.
(3) 
If the report required in Subsection B(1) is submitted, the alarm monitoring unit shall review the corrective action taken or to be taken to discover and eliminate the cause of the false alarms and the specific defenses, if any, set forth in the report to the initial determination of false alarms. If it is determined that a valid defense to the initial determination of false alarms has been accepted, a notice shall be sent to all notified parties that no assessment will be made at that time. The notice shall specifically set forth the findings and conclusions of the alarm monitoring unit with respect to the view of the report.
(4) 
If the alarm monitoring unit determines that a defense to the initial determination of false alarms has not been alleged or accepted, a notice shall be sent forth by mail to the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner by the Police Commissioner or Fire Commissioner or their respective designee that they will be assessed pursuant to Subsection B(5) of this section. The notice of decision shall contain the specific findings and conclusions of the alarm monitoring unit with respect to the review of the report submitted.
(5) 
The assessment(s) imposed pursuant to Subsection B(2)and (4) of this section shall be in an amount of:
(a) 
One hundred dollars per false alarm upon the third false alarm; and
(b) 
An increase of an additional fifty dollars for each subsequent false alarm.
(c) 
For fire false alarms: An additional $500 per false alarm originating in a building 75 or more feet tall.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 10-1-2013.

§ 81-9 Appeal procedures.

A. 
Any person aggrieved by a decision made pursuant to § 81-8B(3) or (4) may, within 10 days of receipt of notice of the decision, appeal to the Alarm Review Board by filing an appeal. A fee of $50 will be charged for each appeal. Said fee shall be refunded to the applicant if a judgment is found in his favor.
B. 
The request for an appeal shall set forth the specific objections to the decision of the alarm monitoring unit which forms the basis of the appeal.
C. 
The Alarm Review Board shall set a time and place for the hearings as soon as practicable.
D. 
The hearing process shall be conducted in an informal process:
(1) 
The Alarm Review Board shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence in the conduct of such hearings.
(2) 
All parties to the hearing shall have the right to present evidence in support of or in opposition to the decision of the alarm monitoring unit.
E. 
The decision of the Alarm Review Board shall be based upon the evidence presented and it shall:
(1) 
Affirm the decision in which case any assessment imposed pursuant to § 81-8B(5) shall be sustained; or
(2) 
Reverse the decision, in whole or in part, in which case no assessment or a lesser assessment shall be imposed.

§ 81-10 Alarm system prohibitions.

[Amended 5-21-2013 by Ord. No. 96-2013[1]]
Upon a final determination of assessment pursuant to § 81-8 or § 81-9E(1) of this chapter for the third and any subsequent false alarms within a consecutive twenty-four-month period, the responsible party shall tender the fee assessed within 20 days of the date ordered or discontinue operation of the alarm system. In the event that the operation of said alarm system is not discontinued and the assessment not tendered, its continued operation by the alarm subscriber, alarm business or proprietor alarm owner is unlawful.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 10-1-2013.

§ 81-11 Regulations.

[Amended 5-21-2013 by Ord. No. 96-2013[1]]
It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally activate any burglar, robbery, fire, holdup or panic alarm, except to warn of a criminal act or unauthorized entry on or into an alarm-protected premises. This section shall not apply to the testing of an alarm system when the Police Department or Fire Department has been given advance notice of such testing.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 10-1-2013.

§ 81-12 Prohibition of automatic or prerecorded messages or signals directly to the City.

No person shall use or cause to be used any telephone device or telephone attachment that automatically selects or dials a published emergency telephone number or any City of New Rochelle telephone number and then reproduces any prerecorded message or signal; provided that this section shall not apply to a life safety alert system utilizing residential transmitting equipment designated for direct telephone access to dedicated control receiving equipment located in the City's Police Department.

§ 81-13 Placement of monitoring panels, annunciating or receiving equipment.

No person shall place any monitoring panels and annunciation or receiving equipment in any City of New Rochelle building.

§ 81-14 Installation and maintenance costs.

All costs and recurring charges incurred in the installation and maintenance of such a private secondary telephone line shall be borne by the person requesting the termination.

§ 81-15 Alarm subscriber permits.

A. 
Every alarm subscriber and proprietor alarm owner shall apply for and receive an alarm subscriber permit from the City of New Rochelle alarm monitoring unit. Application shall be made with the alarm monitoring unit for a permit within 10 days of the installation date of a new alarm system. Alarm systems installed prior to the effective date of this section shall apply for the alarm subscriber permit prior to December 31, 1997. Alarm subscriber permits will be on forms approved by the alarm monitoring unit. An alarm subscriber permit shall be available for inspection by the Police Department and/or Fire Department. Permits are not transferrable from one subscriber or proprietor to another subscriber or proprietor or from one address to another address.
B. 
Alarm systems which are owned or maintained by the City of New Rochelle and installed on premises in which the City has a property interest shall not be subject to this chapter but shall be required to obtain a permit from the alarm monitoring unit.
C. 
If an alarm subscriber has multiple alarm systems at one location, an alarm subscriber permit for each system will be required.
D. 
When the Police Department and/or Fire Department has recorded an alarm for a subscriber or proprietor alarm owner which has not applied for an alarm subscriber permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter:
(1) 
The Police Commissioner or Fire Commissioner or their respective designee shall send a notice to the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner stating that they are in violation of the provisions of this chapter. The notice will direct the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner to apply for the alarm subscriber permit within 10 days of the date of the notice. This notice shall notify the party that, in addition to any assessments imposed pursuant to § 81-8B(5) or 81-10, the failure to obtain the alarm subscriber permit shall result in an assessment of $25 for each alarm which has occurred while the alarm system has operated without an alarm subscriber permit.
(2) 
If the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner fails to apply for the alarm subscriber permit within the 10 days of the date of the notice, a $25 assessment will be sent to the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner for each alarm which has occurred while the system has operated without an alarm subscriber permit.
(3) 
It shall be unlawful for an alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner to continue operation of the alarm system without tendering the assessment fee in Subsection D(2) and applying for an alarm subscriber permit.

§ 81-16 Tax lien for unpaid fees and charges.

If any charges, fees or assessments under this chapter are not paid within 30 days of notice, the City may, in addition to or in lieu of other remedies, add such unpaid charges, fees or assessments to the subsequent City property tax levy for the property on which such alarm system is located, to be collected, bear interest, and be enforced as provided by law for other City taxes.

§ 81-17 Confidentiality.

The information furnished and secured pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential and shall not be subject to public inspection.

§ 81-18 Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remaining portions hereof, but shall be confined to the clause sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.