[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Port Chester 12-2-1985 as L.L. No. 16-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is determined that the number of false alarms being made to the Police and Fire Departments hinders the efficiency of those departments, lowers the morale of Department personnel, constitutes a danger to the general public in the streets during responses to false alarms and jeopardizes the response of volunteers, and that the adoption of this chapter will reduce the number of false alarms and promote the responsible use of alarm devices in the Village of Port Chester.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM AGENT
- Any person employed by any business, firm, corporation or other commercial entity that is licensed hereunder to conduct the business of owning, operating, maintaining, installing, leasing or selling fire or police alarm devices whose duties include any of the following: selling, maintaining, leasing, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing, in or on any building, place or premises, any fire or police alarm device as defined in this chapter, within the Village of Port Chester.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by a person or corporation for a profit that engages in the selling, leasing, maintaining, installing, repairing, altering, moving, replacing or servicing of an alarm device or system.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any device which, when activated by a criminal act, fire or other emergency calling for Police or Fire Department response, transmits a signal to Police or Fire headquarters, transmits a signal to a person who relays information to Police or Fire headquarters or produces an audible or visible signal to which the Police or Fire Departments are expected to respond. Excluded from this definition and the scope of this law are devices which are designed to alert or signal only persons within the premises in which the device is installed.
- ALARM USER
- The owner of any premises in which an alarm device is used, provided that an occupant who expressly accepts responsibility for an alarm device by registration pursuant to § 126-5 shall be deemed the "alarm user."
- AUTOMATIC DIAL ALARM
- A telephone device or attachment that mechanically or electronically selects a telephone line to Police or Fire headquarters and reproduces a prerecorded or synthesized voice message to report a criminal act, fire or other emergency calling for Police or Fire Department response. Excluded from this definition are devices which relay a digital-coded signal to Police or Fire headquarters.
- CENTRAL STATION
- An office to which remote alarm devices transmit signals where operators monitor those signals and relay information to the appropriately designated Police and/or Fire Departments.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any activation of an alarm device to which the Police or Fire Department responds and which is not caused by a criminal act, fire or other emergency, except an activation caused by malfunction of telephone equipment, as verified by monitoring facilities at Police or Fire headquarters, a letter or other evidence from the telephone company or other proof; or power failure as verified by the administrator. A series of such activations attributable to the same cause and occurring under circumstances beyond the control of the responsible alarm user shall be deemed a single "false alarm."
- LICENSING AUTHORITY
- The Village Clerk of the Village of Port Chester.
The Village Clerk is hereby designated as administrator of this chapter. He shall act under the direction and control of the Village Manager. The administrator is authorized to adopt regulations for the administration of this chapter.
There shall be in the village an Alarm Review Board which shall have the powers and duties granted to it under this chapter.
The Alarm Review Board shall consist of five members who shall be appointed by the Village Board of Trustees. All members shall be residents of the village and shall serve without compensation. Three members shall be appointed for terms expiring July 15, 1986, and two members for terms expiring July 15, 1987. Further appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for terms of four years, commencing on July 15, 1986. Appointed members shall serve until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified. Vacancies in the membership shall be filled for the unexpired portion of a term in the same manner as regular appointments.
Three members of such Board shall constitute a quorum. All decisions shall be by a majority of the members of this Board.
The Alarm Review Board shall have power to:
Review this chapter.
Make recommendations for revision of this chapter.
Set procedure for hearings.
Study equipment used in the village and state of art in the alarm field and keep the Village Board of Trustees informed with respect to same.
Develop specifications for approved equipment which may be used in the Village of Port Chester.
Hear and determine appeals under this law.
Each alarm user shall register his alarm device or devices with the Administrator prior to use. Senior citizens will be exempt for the alarm that is currently installed. Any newly installed alarms after the adoption of this law will be subject to the new regulations.
Alarm device registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the administrator to include such information concerning the identity of the prospective alarm user, the identity of the alarm user's contractor, if any, and the nature of the proposed alarm device as the administrator may require. The administrator shall issue the alarm user a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user to notify the administrator of a change in registration information.
No person, firm or corporation shall operate, maintain, lease, sell or install any fire or police alarm device as defined in this chapter unless they have just obtained a license from the County of Westchester pursuant to Section 863.293 of the Westchester County Code; have filed a copy of the same with the licensing authority as defined in this chapter; and obtained from the Port Chester Licensing Authority a license of the Village of Port Chester.
Issuance and compliance.
On receipt of a copy of the county license, the Port Chester Licensing Authority shall, without charge, issue a revocable local license valid for the calendar year or part thereof. The holder of such a license shall produce the same on request by any police officer of the Village of Port Chester or by any other person charged with the enforcement of this chapter and failure to produce same shall be a violation of this chapter.
The licensing authority is hereby authorized to grant a revocable permit to any owner of property located within the Village of Port Chester or the lessee thereof to operate, maintain, install and modify a fire or police alarm device.
All presently existing fire or police alarm devices and systems of fire or police alarm devices and present owners and lessees of premises having such devices or system must comply with all provisions of this chapter by January 1, 1986.
Applications for licenses and permits shall be made as follows:
All businesses, firms, corporations or other commercial entities which are in the business of owning, operating, maintaining, installing, leasing or selling a fire or police alarm device or system of fire or police alarm devices, who desire to conduct business in the Village of Port Chester, shall apply to the licensing authority for a business license, on a form to be supplied by the licensing authority. The application shall contain specific provisions relating to the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the device or system of devices owned or to be operated, maintained, installed, leased or sold by the business licensee, testing procedures involved and any other information the licensing authority shall determine to be reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter. Such business license shall be issued for a one-year period, on a calendar year basis or a part thereof, and no license shall extend beyond December 31 of the year following the expiration of his business license.
Any person who is to be an alarm agent in the Village of Port Chester, before acting as such alarm agent, shall apply for and receive a revocable alarm agent license. The application shall be made to the licensing authority. The application shall contain specific provisions relating to the fire or police alarm device or devices. Such license shall be issued for a one-year period, on a calendar year basis or a part thereof and no license shall extend beyond December 31 of each year. Notwithstanding this provision, a person having an alarm agent license may act as such alarm agent through January 31 of the year following expiration of his license.
Any property owner or lessee of property in the Village of Port Chester having on its premises a fire or police alarm device or system of fire or police alarm devices shall apply to the licensing authority, on a form to be supplied by the licensing authority, for a permit to own or otherwise have such a device on his or its premises. The application shall contain provisions relating to the device or system of devices installed or to be installed on the premises. Application for permits for fire or police alarm devices existing in premises on the effective date of this chapter must be made to the licensing authority by January 1, 1986. No such devices may be installed on the premises of the owner or lessee after the effective date of this chapter prior to the licensing authority having issued a permit to such owner or lessee, and no presently existing fire or police alarm device shall be modified after the effective date of this chapter prior to the licensing authority having issued a permit to such owner or lessee. All such licenses shall be valid for the calendar year and must be renewed on or before the first day of January of each year, commencing with January 1, 1990.
[Amended 5-30-1990 by L.L. No. 5-1990]
No automatic dial alarm may be installed after the adoption of this chapter.
After the enactment of this chapter, the Administrator will not permit the registration of an alarm device which transmits a digital coded signal to either the Police Department or the Fire Department unless the alarm user has received special authorization in accordance with Subsection B.
A commercial establishment, a residence or a not-for-profit institution may have a direct line to the Police Department or Fire Department, provided that:
The connection is by a high-grade, dedicated line meeting specifications that may be established by the Alarm Review Board;
The Police or Fire Department determines that the level of risk and exposure justifies a direct line; and
The Police or Fire Department has notified the administrator of its approval of such a direct line.
After the adoption of this chapter, signals that result from the activation of an alarm device for which a direct connection has not been authorized in accordance with Subsection B must be transmitted to a central station which, after such verification as is practicable, will transmit the alarm to the Police Department or Fire Department.
[Amended 5-31-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000]
Unless required by law, no alarm device which produces an exterior audible signal shall be installed unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 15 minutes.
The Police Department and Fire Department shall report false alarms to the administrator, based upon the report of the investigating officer.
It shall be the responsibility of the central station to notify the alarm user or his designated keyholder whenever the central station reports an alarm activation to the Police Department or Fire Department.
[Amended 11-3-1997 by L.L. No. 17-1997]
When the administrator determines that the Police Department or Fire Department has responded to a false alarm, the administrator shall impose a charge on the responsible alarm user according to the following schedule:
The administrator shall notify the responsible alarm user of any false alarm charge by mail. Within 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may file with the administrator information to show that the alarm was not a false alarm within the meaning of this chapter.
The administrator shall consider such information, reaffirm or rescind the false alarm charge, and notify the alarm user of its decision by mail. Within 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may file with the Alarm Review Board an appeal in writing.
If activations of any alarm device has resulted in four false alarms within a single fiscal year of the village, the administrator shall, when notifying the alarm user of this fourth false alarm and the charge therefor, require that the alarm user arrange to have the alarm device inspected by a contractor registered in accordance with § 126-8, that the alarm device be adjusted or repaired if necessary to avoid discontinuance from Police or Fire Departments and that the alarm user submit a certification in writing from the contractor that he has inspected the alarm device and that it is in proper working order. Such notification by the administrator shall be by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.
Such certification must be submitted within 15 days from the date of the return receipt of the administrator's letter. However, if the alarm user requests an extension of time to file the report because of absence from the village or for other satisfactory reason, the administrator shall extend, for a reasonable time, the date for filing, but not more than 30 days.
If the certification is not received within the fifteen-day period or permitted extension thereof, the administrator shall notify the alarm user that the registration of the alarm device is suspended and that thereafter the alarm device shall be deemed unregistered and, unless disconnected, subject to the penalties therefor. The suspension shall be lifted and the alarm user so notified when a satisfactory certification has been received by the administrator.
If the alarm user believes that his registration has been suspended unjustifiably, he may, within 15 days from date of mailing of said notice of suspension, file with the Alarm Review Board an appeal in writing.
Upon receipt of a timely appeal from a false alarm charge or a registration suspension, the Alarm Review Board shall hold a hearing to consider it and shall mail notice of the time and place of said hearing to the alarm user taking the appeal at his last known address at least 15 days before the hearing. On the basis of information provided by the alarm user and other information introduced at the hearing, the Alarm Review Board shall affirm the charge or suspension if it finds that the charge or suspension was properly imposed or rescind the charge or suspension if it finds the charge or suspension was not properly imposed.
There shall be a fee as set forth in Chapter 175, Fees, for each appeal to the Alarm Review Board. If the Board shall determine no violation exists, then the fee shall be refunded.
[Amended 11-3-1997 by L.L. No. 17-1997]
Unpaid fines, false alarm fees, permit fees or other charges under this chapter of the Village Code shall become a lien upon the property from which the alarm resulting in a call to police or fire headquarters originated, resulting in such fine, fee or charge, and will be collected in the same manner as real estate taxes after the provisions of § 126-16A are exhausted, if initiated by the owner or lessee.
[Added 6-12-1989 by L.L. No. 13-1989]
Each notice of a false alarm charge, the reaffirmation of such a charge by the administrator or the suspension of a registration shall refer to and provide instructions concerning the alarm user's right to further recourse by filing information with the administrator or an appeal with the Alarm Review Board, as the case may be.
All information in the possession of the administrator, the Alarm Review Board, the Police Department or the Fire Department concerning particular alarm users and particular alarm devices shall not be divulged without the written consent of the alarm user or users concerned, except that information as to the frequency of false alarms experienced by an individual alarm user may be supplied to the contractor who installed or who currently has a contract to service that user's alarm device.
The administrator, Police Department and Fire Department shall, with respect to each and every false alarm, compile information concerning alarm devices, contractors and sources of false alarms in a form such that the information may be evaluated in terms of relative reliability of different sorts of alarm devices and particular contractors and the frequency of false alarms attributable to different categories of sources.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the village, its departments, officers, agents and employees shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm device or of the alarm monitoring facilities at Police and Fire headquarters. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities, or for the failure to respond to alarms or for any other omission in connection with such alarm devices. Each alarm user shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the village, its departments, officers, agents and employees from liability in connection with the alarm user's alarm device.
Any person who performs or causes to be performed any of the following acts shall be in violation and subject to a penalty not to exceed $100 for each such act:
Failure to register an alarm device or give notice of changes in registration information as required by this chapter.
Use of an automatic dial alarm or an exterior audible alarm device in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
Violation of any of the other provisions of this chapter.
The village, upon authorization of the administrator, may institute civil proceedings to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to alarm devices on premises owned or controlled by the village, the State of New York or the government of the United States nor to alarm devices installed in a licensed motor vehicle, trailer or boat. It shall, however, apply to public and private schools except that they shall not be subject to any monetary fines, fees or penalties.