[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Haverstraw 8-25-1997 by L.L. No. 13-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Police Department — See Ch. 31.
Fire prevention and building construction — See Ch. 84.
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 48, Alarms, adopted 5-27-1997 by L.L. No. 7-1997, was superseded 8-25-1997 by L.L. No. 13-1997.
This chapter shall be known as the "Burglar Alarm Device Control Law."
The frequency of false burglar alarms emanating from automated devices has caused unnecessary police department responses where no actual police emergency exists, with the result that police personnel have been exposed to avoidable hazards and risks, taxpayer funds have been wasted and persons in need of police and other emergency services may experience delays in receiving the same. This chapter intended to remedy this waste by seeking to suppress the number of automated false alarms generated in nonresidential properties in the unincorporated Town of Haverstraw without unreasonably interfering with the use of such alarm devices when they fulfill the purpose for which they are intended.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any device which, when activated, is intended to transmit a signal directly or indirectly to request police services to respond on an emergency basis. Such devices include any device which emits an audible signal at or near the exterior of the protected premises, or which transmits a request for police services to a private or government-operated central alarm station for the purpose of relaying a request for such services or which transmits a request for emergency services directly to a police agency. This definition does not include any alarm device installed in any motor vehicle.
- ALARM USER
- Any business or commercial entity upon whose premises an alarm device is installed within the Town of Haverstraw.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Town of Haverstraw.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm device which results in the response by police personnel to any place within the Town of Haverstraw where no police emergency services are required, as determined by such personnel after investigation. A false alarm shall not include alarm signals which result from hurricane, gale, tornado or other violent weather condition, earthquake or any major disruption of electric, telephone or other public utility transmission.
- POLICE COMMISSION
- The Police Commission of the Town of Haverstraw.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Town of Haverstraw Police Department.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of the Town of Haverstraw.
- TOWN OF HAVERSTRAW
- That portion of the Town of Haverstraw which is in the unincorporated area.
All persons who desire to become an alarm user in the Town of Haverstraw shall obtain an alarm user permit from the Building Department. All persons who have an alarm already in use on the effective date of this chapter must obtain a permit from the Building Department. Applications for such permit shall be made on forms prescribed by the Building Department and shall provide the following information:
The name, address and telephone number of the intended alarm user.
The location of the alarm device.
A description of the type of alarm device to be installed.
The address to which notices required under this chapter shall be sent.
The name, address and telephone number of two persons that may be contacted at any time of the day or night, and who are authorized by the alarm user to enter the premises.
Such other information as may be reasonably required by the Building Inspector and Chief of Police.
All information provided by a permit applicant shall be treated as confidential, shall not be deemed a public record and shall not be used for any purpose other than to carry out the provisions of this chapter or to provide emergency services to alarm users.
A copy of the permit shall also be kept on file with the Town of Haverstraw Police Department.
The fee for the issuance of an alarm user permit shall be $10. Such permits must be renewed on a yearly basis.
Any alarm user who shall install or have installed an alarm device in the Town of Haverstraw without a permit or has an alarm already in use on the effective date of this chapter but does not have a permit shall be guilty of a violation punishable upon conviction by a fine of not less than $100, nor more than $500.
Alarm user permits shall not be transferable. A copy shall be kept on file in the alarm user's premises and shall be made available for inspection upon demand by any Building Department or Police Department personnel. All permits shall be deemed terminated upon the sale or transfer of possession of the affected premises to a new owner or occupant.
Wherever a responding police official shall determine that a false alarm has been transmitted, a written report shall be submitted by such officer to the Police Chief stating the name, address, telephone number and permit number, if any, of the alarm user, together with a statement of the circumstances surrounding such alarm and the officer's opinion as to the likely cause. A copy of the report shall be forwarded to the Building Department.
All local alarm systems shall become deactivated and silenced automatically after a period of time not to exceed 15 minutes.
Police and/or fire officials may disable an audible alarm signal that has not been silenced prior to the expiration of the fifteen-minute period and shall not be liable for any damage that may result.
No alarm user permit shall be issued unless the following requirements are met:
The premises shall display a building number or name sufficiently sized or illuminated by street or other lighting so as to be clearly visible from the street frontage.
All alarm devices shall be equipped with a standby power source sufficient to maintain the device in an armed state for at least six hours in the event of a power failure.
Any alarm user who shall be determined by police personnel to have issued more than one false alarm in any one twelve-month period shall be liable for a civil penalty of $100 for the second false alarm and $250 for the third false alarm. Any additional false alarm in such twelve-month period shall subject the user to a civil penalty of $500 for each such subsequent false alarm.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall maintain records of all false alarms reported pursuant to this chapter. A warning letter may be sent at the discretion of the Chief of Police to any alarm user who shall have permitted up to two false alarms in any twelve-month period. When a subsequent false alarm is transmitted during a twelve-month period, the Chief of Police shall assess the civil penalty as provided herein and give notice of the same to the alarm user by certified mail, return-receipt addressed to the address provided on the permit application or any amendment thereto. Such notice shall contain information as to the right of review of such determination. The civil penalty must be paid within 15 days from the date assessed or, in the alternative, the alarm user must file a written request with the Police Chief for review of the civil penalty before the False Alarm Review Board. Payment of the amount assessed shall be stayed pending such hearing. If no hearing is requested, such civil penalty shall be final and shall become a lien against the property if not paid within 45 days from the date when assessed. All civil penalties which become liens against the property shall be collected by special assessment levy against the affected tax parcel on the next town tax bill.
The Building Inspector shall revoke any alarm user permit when six false alarms have been transmitted during any twelve-month period. Such permit shall not be renewed or reissued unless sufficient changes are made to the alarm device to assure that the false alarm condition shall not recur upon issuance of a new alarm user permit. Upon written request by an aggrieved person, the revocation of an alarm user permit or the refusal to reissue such permit by the Building Inspector shall be subject to review by the False Alarm Review Board. An alarm user whose permit is revoked or denied shall be notified of the right of review. Request for such review must be made in writing on or before the lapse of 15 days from receipt of notice of the determination by the Building Inspector. A request for review shall stay the revocation of the alarm user's permit until after the determination of the False Alarm Review Board.
It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution for maintaining an alarm device without a permit that the person charged has submitted a duly completed application and permit fee to the Building Inspector within 15 days from the date when served with such violation notice. This defense shall not be available to any person maintaining an alarm at any location where an alarm permit has been revoked pursuant to § 114-12.
The Building Inspector shall have no authority to revoke or refuse to issue any alarm user permit to any person or entity which is required by any federal, state or local law to maintain an alarm device in premises within the Town of Haverstraw. However, all other provisions of this chapter shall apply and the alarm user shall be liable for any civil or criminal penalty which may apply.
There is hereby created a False Alarm Review Board who shall hear and determine all requests for review of any civil penalty assessed pursuant to this chapter or the denial or revocation of any alarm user's permit by the Building Inspector. The False Alarm Review Board shall be comprised of any one member of the Town Board and two members of the public appointed by the Town Board for a term of two years. The Town Board shall annually designate its respective representatives to serve on such review board. The False Alarm Review Board shall meet to hear all matters brought before it at least once each quarter. The Chief of Police shall cause the False Alarm Review Board to be convened in the months of March, June, September and December to handle all pending matters. The Board shall have the authority, for good cause, to set aside or reduce any civil penalty assessed against an alarm user or to issue or reissue an alarm user's permit which has been denied or revoked. The determination of the Board shall be subject to review in the Supreme Court by a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Such proceeding shall be instituted within 30 days after the determination shall have been filed with the Town Clerk and a copy of the same mailed to the last known address of the alarm user.
The False Alarm Review Board may excuse or reduce any civil penalty assessed by the Chief of Police whenever it determines that a person, other than the alarm user, was responsible for the false alarm, or that there is reasonable cause to believe such alarm was the result of an unauthorized entry or attempted entry. Such Board may not excuse any penalty on account of equipment failure, defective installation or servicing of any alarm device.
The Building Inspector and Chief of Police may promulgate such rules, regulations and standards applicable to alarm devices and alarm users, consistent with this chapter, which are necessary for the purpose of effective administration of this chapter. Such rules, regulations and standards shall be set forth in writing and filed with the Town Clerk, and copies shall be made available without charge to all applicants for an alarm user's permit.
If any section, paragraph, clause, provision or portion of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of the balance of this law as a whole or any part or provision other than the part held to be invalid or unenforceable.
This chapter shall become effective September 5, 1997.