[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Essex Fells 11-14-1983 by Ord. No. 83-481 (Ch. 8.08 of the 1992 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations concerning the installation, operation and maintenance of certain alarm systems within the Borough and to provide penalties for violations of any of the provisions set forth in this chapter, and to provide for registration of alarm systems with the Police Department and for annual fees for such registration.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-actuating equipment which provides warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, burglary, flood, or like perils, including dial alarms (devices using normal telephone lines transmitting notification by telephone directly to the police headquarters) and direct alarms (devices using telephone lines terminating in an alarm display panel located in police headquarters) and external or other alarm devices audible to a neighbor. Alarm devices for purposes of this chapter shall not include those alarms that are limited to warning only the occupants of a home of smoke, fire, burglary, flood, or like perils.
- ALARM DISPLAY PANEL
- That component installed in police headquarters containing alarm indications and designations.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarm devices for the express purpose of giving visual or audible warning, or both, of an emergency such as burglary, intrusion, fire, smoke, flood, or like perils.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- A device that emits an audible signal from the premises that it is designed to protect by attracting the attention of persons outside the building or buildings.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal necessitating response by the Essex Fells Police or Fire Department where an emergency situation does not exist.
- Any individual, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity.
It is the responsibility of all residents with alarm systems in their homes to file a registration form provided by the Police Department, including, if desired by the resident, the names of authorized persons who can be reached in case of an emergency or malfunction of the alarm device in order that the device can be temporarily disconnected. (It is urged that two such persons be designated.) The registration form shall also include any other data required by the Police Department.
Persons having alarm devices which are being tested or repaired shall notify the Police Department before tests or repairs commence and after completion of same so as to avoid the possibility of actuating a false alarm.
It is the responsibility of all residents having alarm systems in their homes to prevent the transmission of false alarms though a program of training and period inspection and maintenance of the system.
Notification and investigations. In the case of a false alarm, any person having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify the Police Department. In the case of false alarms the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and keep a record of the alarms on file.
[Amended 2-18-1997 by Ord. No. 97-669; 4-15-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-949]
All residents having alarms systems in their homes shall be required to register annually with the Borough Police Department the existence of the alarms. The fee for such annual registration shall be $25. In addition, if a resident maintains an automatic direct dialing device to a Borough Police Department telephone line, then a further fee of $25 will be charged upon initial registration and on each anniversary of the registration. This additional charge is necessary to reimburse the Borough for the added cost of installing and maintaining a separate telephone line. The penalty for a violation of this section shall be $50.
All external audible alarms shall be equipped with a timing device that will automatically silence the external audible alarm within 15 minutes after it is actuated. As to any such external audible alarms, it is urged that at least two persons other than members of the household be responsible for turning off these alarms if the automatic shutoff fails.
[Amended 12-21-1993 by Ord. No. 93-623; 2-18-1997 by Ord. No. 97-669; 3-17-1998 by Ord. No. 98-683]
Penalties for false alarms or failure to have an external alarm silenced within 15 minutes in accordance with § 66-6 of this chapter:
In any calendar year (January 1 through December 31), the following penalties shall apply:
In the event of a sixth or subsequent false alarm, or the sixth or subsequent failure to have an external audible alarm silenced within 15 minutes, in addition to the fine established in this chapter, an investigation shall be conducted by the Police Department. Where the investigation of the Police Department discloses continued abuse, negligent operation or poor maintenance of an alarm device and a failure to take remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Police Chief may require disconnection of the device for a limited or permanent time, provided that no disconnection shall be made without giving the owner or user of the alarm device an opportunity to show cause before the Borough Administrator why such action should not be taken.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter (except repeated false alarms and repeated failure to silence an external audible alarm system) shall, for each offense, be subject to a fine of not more than $500 in the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court. Each incident shall be considered a separate violation.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to alarm systems placed in service prior to or subsequent to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter; provided, however, that persons responsible for existing alarm devices shall have 30 days from the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter to provide to the Police Department the information required by § 66-3 and shall have 90 days from the effective date of this chapter to equip any nonconforming audible alarm device with the automatic silencing mechanism required by § 66-6.