Wicomico County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Wicomico County 2-13-1995 as Bill No. 1995-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire and ambulance companies and rescue squads — See Ch. 39.
Fire Marshal — See Ch. 41.
Sheriff — See Ch. 86.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 144.
Fires — See Ch. 146.
STATUTORY REFERENCES
False alarms — See Anno. Code of Md. (1957), Art. 27, §§ 156 to 156E; § 594B.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards applicable to alarms other than fire alarms, such as burglar or intrusion, hold up or robbery alarms, etc., alarm contractors, alarm agents, and alarm users, as defined in this chapter. It is the intent of this chapter to provide for the registration of alarm contractors, to control false alarms, to ensure proper use of alarms, to place a time limit on audible alarms and to provide penalties for violations of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ALARM SIGNAL
The activation of an alarm system.
ALARM SYSTEM
A burglary alarm or a robbery alarm system.
ALARM SYSTEM CONTRACTOR
A person engaged in installing, maintaining, monitoring, altering or servicing alarm systems. An alarm system contractor does not include a person who only sells or manufactures alarm devices unless that person also services, installs, monitors or responds to alarm systems at protected premises.
ALARM USER
A person, including the owner or lessee of an alarm system, in control of an alarm system within, in or around any building, structure, facility or site.
FALSE ALARM
Any request for immediate assistance by a law enforcement agency, regardless of cause, that is not in response to an actual emergency situation or threatened suggested criminal activity.
A. 
False alarm includes:
(1) 
Negligently or accidentally activated signals;
(2) 
Signals that are the result of faulty, malfunctioning or improperly installed or maintained equipment; and
(3) 
Signals that are purposely activated to summon the law enforcement agencies in nonemergency situations.
B. 
False alarms do not include:
(1) 
Signals activated by unusually severe weather conditions or other causes beyond the control of the alarm user or alarm system contractor; or
(2) 
Signals activated during the initial thirty-day period following new installation.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office or other law enforcement agency that has the power of arrest.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization.
A. 
Required. A person shall not engage in the alarm system contracting business, including, but not limited to, installing, altering, leasing, monitoring, maintaining, repairing, replacing or servicing an alarm system within the county without first obtaining an alarm system contractor's license.
B. 
Application and fee. The Wicomico County Sheriff shall prepare and have available application forms for an alarm system contractor's license, containing such provisions and information as, in the opinion of the Sheriff, may be necessary to keep a proper and complete listing of the persons in Wicomico County who are engaged in this occupation from time to time. The application shall be signed by the individual proprietor of the business, or by a partner, or by the proper corporate official as is appropriate for the form of business seeking to apply for a license. The initial registration and license fee shall be $125, and the cost shall not be prorated for portions of a year. All licenses shall expire on June 30 of each year and shall be renewed annually thereafter upon written application to the Wicomico County Sheriff's office. Renewal fees shall be $25.
C. 
Issuance. The Sheriff shall, within 60 days after receipt of the application, either approve or deny the issuance of a license. In the case of approval, the Sheriff shall notify the applicant in writing of the approval and shall issue a license on a form established by the Sheriff. In the case of denial, the Sheriff shall notify the applicant in writing of the denial. The notice of denial shall inform the applicant that he has the right of appeal to the Board of Appeals.
[Amended 7-6-2004 by Bill No. 2004-6]
D. 
Standards. The Sheriff shall propose standards which an alarm system contractor must meet to obtain an alarm system contractor license. Those standards shall be submitted to and approved by the County Council and may be amended from time to time for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. The Sheriff shall refuse a license to any alarm system contractor that fails to meet the alarm system contractor standards.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
E. 
Grandfather provisions. Any alarm system contractor doing business in Wicomico County on the effective date of this chapter shall apply for a license within 30 days of the effective date of this chapter and may continue doing business while its license application is being processed.
F. 
Penalty. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of $1,000 for each violation. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
[Amended 10-24-2000 by Bill No. 2000-9]
A. 
All licensed alarm contractors shall provide the Wicomico County Sheriff's office with the following information:
(1) 
A complete list of names and addresses of all persons/businesses to whom alarm systems have been sold, leased, rented or otherwise given use of.
(2) 
The alarm system location.
(3) 
Names and addresses of all employees of the alarm system contractor.
(4) 
Any other information requested by the Sheriff.
B. 
It shall be the responsibility of the alarm system contractor to ensure that the information requested in § 105-4A is kept current.
C. 
Failure to comply with this section will result in the vendor being assessed additional administrative fees when it becomes necessary for the Wicomico County Sheriff's office to contact the alarm system contractor for correction information.
Any person who intentionally activates an alarm signal for any nonemergency situation is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days.
If a law enforcement agency responds to more than three false alarms, other than those intentional, at the same location within a thirty-day period or to eight such alarms within a twelve-month period, the alarm user may be issued a civil citation, imposing a fine of $30 for each excess false alarm.
A. 
Presumption. In this chapter, an alarm system is deemed a defective alarm system if:
(1) 
More than three false alarms occur within a thirty-day period; or
(2) 
Eight or more false alarms occur within a twelve-month period.
B. 
Notice of condition. A law enforcement agency that answers false alarms shall provide written notice to the alarm user and alarm system contractor of the defective condition.
C. 
Action by alarm user. Upon notice from the appropriate law enforcement agency, an alarm user who has a defective system shall:
(1) 
Have the system inspected within 30 days by an alarm system contractor or alarm user if qualified; and
(2) 
Within 15 days after the inspection, file a written report to the Wicomico County Sheriff.
D. 
Report. The report shall contain:
(1) 
The results of the alarm system contractor's or alarm user's inspection;
(2) 
The probable cause of the false alarm if known; and
(3) 
Action taken or recommendations for eliminating the false alarm.
E. 
Penalty for continued use. Any alarm user who continues to use a defective alarm system shall be subject to a civil penalty of a fine of $500 for each violation.
A. 
Requirements. An audible alarm system shall be equipped to:
(1) 
Automatically silence the annunciator within 15 minutes after activation; and
(2) 
Permit an accidental or negligent alarm activation to be halted or reset.
B. 
Compliance required. An alarm system contractor may not sell, offer for sale, lease, offer to lease, rent or offer to rent an audible alarm system that does not comply with the requirements of this section.
C. 
Violation penalty. A person who violates any provision of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of a fine of $100 for each violation.
[Amended 10-24-2000 by Bill No. 2000-9]
A. 
A person who violates a provision of this chapter for which a criminal penalty is not specified is guilty of a civil infraction and shall be liable for the fine specified for the violation.
B. 
If the section of this chapter violated does not set forth a specific monetary penalty, then the fine shall be $100 for each violation.
C. 
Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
D. 
The office of the Sheriff or its designee is hereby authorized to issue citations for civil infractions of this chapter.