Town of Barrington, RI
Bristol County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Barrington 6-10-1991 as Ord. No. 91-7. Amendments noted where applicable.]
RHODE ISLAND GENERAL LAWS (AS AMENDED)
Burglar and hold-up alarm businesses — See § 5-57-1 et seq.
Fire alarm systems in apartment houses — See § 23-28.16-16.
Penalty for false fire alarms — See § 11-44-21.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fee and Fine Schedule — See Ch. A225.

§ 59-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Security Alarm Ordinance."

§ 59-2 Declaration of policy.

The Barrington Town Council has determined that the number of false or needless alarms in the Town of Barrington is causing a drain on the resources of the Barrington Police and Fire Departments. In order to reduce the drain, the Council has drafted and passed the following.

§ 59-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM SYSTEM
Equipment or devices located on real property within the Town of Barrington, which equipment or devices are arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire are expected to respond. In this chapter, the term "alarm system" shall include but shall not be limited to the terms "automatic holdup alarm systems," "burglar alarm systems," "holdup alarm systems," "manual holdup alarm systems," "audible alarm systems" and "fire alarm systems."
DIRECT CONNECT SYSTEMS
All alarm systems which have the capability of transmitting to any agency maintained by the town, such as the police station and/or Fire Department, whether through telephone lines or a signal system. Such term shall include the following systems:
A. 
 — Refers to a telephone answering service providing, among its services, the service of receiving, on a continuous basis, through trained employees, emergency signals from alarm systems and thereafter immediately relaying the message by live voice to the Police Department and/or Fire Department.
B. 
 — An alarm signaling system which, when activated by an alarm device, transmits a signal, including but not limited to an audible signal, from the alarm signaling device to the Police Department and/or Fire Department or other central location, where appropriate action is taken to investigate and respond to the signal.
C. 
 — Refers to an office to which remote alarm and supervisory signaling devices are connected, where operators supervise the circuits and where guards are maintained continuously to investigate signals which are then reported to the Police and/or Fire Departments.
D. 
 — Refers to an alarm system which has the capability of transmitting system signals to and receiving them at any agency maintained by the town, such as the police station and/or Fire Department.
E. 
 — A telephone line leading directly from a central station to the communication center of the Police Department and/or Fire Department that is for use only to report emergency signals on a person-to-person basis.
FALSE OR NUISANCE ALARM
The activation of an alarm system to which the Police and/or Fire Department responds which is not caused by:
A. 
Fire, a criminal act or other emergency.
B. 
An act of nature, such as an earthquake, tornado or hurricane.
C. 
Circumstances occurring off the protected property and not within the control of the subscriber, his alarm company or his answering service, including but not limited to electrical power failure.
D. 
A person motivated solely by criminal, malicious or mischievous intent.

§ 59-4 Promulgation of rules and regulations.

A. 
The Police Chief may promulgate rules and regulations to implement this chapter.
B. 
The Fire Chief may promulgate rules and regulations relating to fire alarms to implement this chapter. Said regulations relating to fire alarms shall be consistent with any regulations adopted by the Police Chief to implement this chapter.

§ 59-5 Registration required.

A. 
Any alarm system which is in use prior to the passage of this chapter must be registered with the Police Department within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this chapter.
B. 
Registration with the Police Department shall be required prior to the installation of any new alarm system.
C. 
Registration applications shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name, home address and telephone number of the applicant;
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the alarm company which services and maintains the alarm system, if the alarm is not serviced or maintained by the applicant; and/or
(3) 
The name, address and telephone numbers of at least two (2) emergency contact people who can gain entrance to the property and turn off the alarm system, which information shall be updated yearly.

§ 59-6 Permit required; procedure.

A. 
Permit required.
(1) 
A permit shall be required prior to the installation of any direct connect alarm systems.
(2) 
A permit shall be required within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this chapter for any direct connect alarm system which is in use on the effective date of this chapter.
(3) 
Failure to obtain such a permit will result in a fine which shall be set and may be amended from time to time by the Town Council.
B. 
Permit application.
(1) 
Application shall be made by a subscriber to the Police Chief or Fire Chief, as appropriate, on a form approved by them.
(2) 
At the time of application, the subscriber shall pay an application fee and all other fees in full, as described herein.
(3) 
The Police Chief or Fire Chief shall issue a permit if the application is complete and signed, all fees are paid and the Chief determines that the alarm system to be installed meets the requirements of this chapter, any rules and regulations as may be promulgated by either or both departments and state law.

§ 59-7 Fees and fines.

A. 
The town may impose a one-time fee for processing a registration application.
B. 
The town may impose an annual fee for monitoring an alarm system (direct connect alarm system) interconnected to the Police Department and/or Fire Department.
C. 
The town shall not impose a fee for answering any alarm.
D. 
The town shall give written notification to the alarm owner and impose a fine for any of the following nuisance alarm violations:
(1) 
Failure to register an alarm system.
(2) 
Failure to obtain the necessary permit for a direct connect alarm system.
(3) 
An audible alarm which does not have an automatic reset system which turns the signal off automatically after sounding for fifteen (15) minutes, as further described hereinafter.
(4) 
The second and all subsequent nuisance alarm violations within the calendar year, except when the alarm system owner can show proof that the system has been inspected and found in good working order.
(5) 
The second and all subsequent false alarm violations made to the Police and/or Fire Departments, through the direct connect alarm systems, within the calendar year, except when the alarm system owner can show proof that the system has been inspected and found in good working order.

§ 59-8 Audible alarm system.

A. 
No installed audible alarm system shall sound an alarm for longer than fifteen (15) minutes.
B. 
After the second false alarm in any calendar year, the Police Chief or, in cases involving fire alarms, the Fire Chief shall send a written order to the subscriber instructing him to:
(1) 
Have said alarm system inspected by an alarm company.
(2) 
Review alarm procedures with all employees (if the premises is a business) or members of the household (if the premises is a residence).
C. 
Within five (5) days after this order is sent, the subscriber shall forward to the Police Chief or, in cases involving fire alarms, the Fire Chief proof that the alarm system has been inspected and is in good working order.

§ 59-9 Notification and appeal of false alarm charges.

A. 
The Police Chief or, in cases involving fire alarms, the Fire Chief shall notify the subscriber by certified mail of any fine. Within fifteen (15) days of the mailing of such notice, the subscriber may file a written appeal of said charge with the Police Chief or, if applicable, the Fire Chief. Said notice of appeal shall contain information to show that the alarm giving rise to the fine was not a false alarm within the meaning of this chapter. Said notice of appeal shall also contain a return address to which the Police Chief or, in cases involving fire alarms, the Fire Chief shall send notice of his decision.
B. 
The Police Chief or, in cases involving fire alarms, the Fire Chief shall consider the information filed by the subscriber, reaffirm or rescind the false alarm charge and, within fifteen (15) days of his receipt of said appeal, notify the subscriber of his decision by certified mail. Such decision shall be final and shall not be subject to further appeal.

§ 59-10 Maintenance of system.

Each subscriber is required to maintain all components of his alarm system in good working order at all times to ensure that the sensory mechanism is adjusted to suppress false indications of holdups or intrusions or fire or smoke conditions so that the alarm system will not be activated by impulses due to short flashes of light, wind, noises, vehicular noise or other forces unrelated to genuine alarms.

§ 59-11 Termination of direct connect system.

A. 
In addition to any other penalty set out in this chapter, if a subscriber and/or alarm business fails to comply with any requirements of this chapter or any rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief may order the subscriber to disconnect the alarm system from the Police Department and/or Fire Department, as the case may be, and to remove any equipment or indicators connected in the Police Department and/or Fire Department and shall indicate in said order that failure to obey shall result in disconnection by the town. If the subscriber fails to obey the order within three (3) days from the receipt of the order, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the town shall disconnect the alarm system and remove any equipment or indicators at the expense of the violator.
B. 
Notification and appeal; termination of service:
(1) 
The Police Chief and/or Fire Chief shall notify the subscriber and/or alarm company of the disconnect order by certified mail. Within three (3) days of the receipt of said notice, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the subscriber and/or alarm company may file a written appeal of said disconnect order with the Town Manager. Said notice of appeal shall include an address to which the Town Manager shall mail a notice of hearing and all other correspondence directed to the appealing subscriber and/or alarm company. The Town Manager shall immediately notify the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief of the receipt of any such appeal.
(2) 
Upon receipt of a timely appeal of a disconnect order, the Town Manager shall schedule a hearing of said appeal to be heard by the Town Manager. The Town Manager shall set said hearing for a date not more than fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the appeal. Not less than seven (7) days before said hearing date, the Town Manager shall, by certified mail, send written notice of the date, time and place of said hearing to the subscriber and/or alarm company taking the appeal.
(3) 
At said hearing, the appealing subscriber and/or alarm company and the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief, or his or their designee, shall present facts and arguments relevant to the issuance and validity of the disconnect order.
(4) 
Solely on the basis of the hearing record, the Town Manager shall render a decision and shall, by certified mail, send written notice of said decision to the subscriber and/or alarm company within ten (10) days of the close of the hearing.
(5) 
The filing of a notice of appeal of a disconnect order shall stay any such order until a hearing has been held and a decision rendered thereon; provided, however, that if the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief finds that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action and states that finding and the factual basis therefor in his or their written disconnect order, the filing of a notice of appeal shall not affect a stay of the order, and the terms of Subsection D of this section shall operate as if no appeal had been filed, pending a hearing and a decision thereon. At the time the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief sends written notice of an emergency disconnect order to a subscriber and/or alarm company, he shall send a copy of said order to the Town Manager. Within five (5) business days of the receipt of a written notice of appeal of such an emergency disconnect order, the Town Manager shall conduct a hearing thereon, giving the appealing subscriber and/or alarm company written and whatever other notice the Town Manager deems necessary of the date, time and place of said hearing. Said hearing shall be conducted in the manner described hereinabove. The Town Manager shall, by certified mail, send to the subscriber and/or alarm business written notice of his decision of said appeal within three (3) business days of the close of the hearing.
(6) 
The Town Manager may designate one (1) or more town supervisory employees to perform the duties ascribed to him in this chapter; provided, however, that he shall not, in any case, appoint an officer, employee or other member of the Police or Fire Department to perform any of such duties.
C. 
Each notice of a disconnect order shall refer to and provide instructions concerning the subscriber's and/or alarm company's right to appeal.
D. 
Fines. In addition to any other penalty set out in this chapter, failure of any subscriber and/or alarm company to comply with the requirements of a written notice or order by the Police Chief or Fire Chief of a violation of any provision hereof within three (3) days of receipt of such notice or order, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall also constitute an offense punishable by a fine which shall be set and may be amended from time to time by the Town Council. Such notice shall continue in force and effect until full compliance with the requirements stated herein, and each and every failure to comply with such notice within twenty-four (24) hours after the three (3) days allowed for compliance shall constitute a separate offense; provided, however, that if a subscriber and/or alarm company files a timely notice of appeal of any such notice or order, then the provisions of this subsection shall take effect only after a written notice of affirmation of said order or notice is received by said subscriber and/or alarm company.

§ 59-12 Compilation of record.

The Police Chief and the Fire Chief shall jointly compile a continuous record of all false alarms and of all written notices and orders given to subscribers and alarm companies. Such record shall indicate the number and frequency of false alarms and shall separately state the number of false alarms received from residences and from businesses.

§ 59-13 Town liability.

The Town of Barrington shall not be liable for any defects in the operation of any signal line system (direct connect alarm system), for any failure or neglect to respond appropriately upon receipt of an alarm from such a source, for any failure or neglect of any person in connection with the installation, operation, disconnection or removal of equipment, the transmission of alarm signals or the relaying of such signals or messages.