Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Wakefield 6-1-1992 by Art. 37 as Ch. XVI of the 1992 Bylaws. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
E-911 Telephone System — See Ch. 112.
The purpose of this chapter is to reduce the number of false alarms and to promote responsible use of alarm devices in the Town of Wakefield.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
ADMINISTRATORS
The Chief of Police or his/her designee and the Chief of the Fire Department or his/her designee shall be the administrators for alarm devices within the Town and shall have the powers granted to the administrators under this chapter. The administrators shall act under the direction and control of the Board of Selectmen, who are authorized to adopt regulations for the administration of this chapter.
[Added 5-10-2018 ATM by Art. 22]
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 Department headquarters, transmits a signal to a person who relays information to Police or Fire Department headquarters or produces an audible or visible signal to which the Police or Fire Department is expected to respond. Excluded from this definition and the scope of this chapter are devices which are designated to alert or signal only persons within the premises in which the device is installed and devices which are activated by the release of water from a sprinkler system.
ALARM USER
The owner of any premises on which an alarm device is used, provided that an occupant who expressly accepts responsibility for an alarm device by registration pursuant to § 75-5 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 produces a prerecorded 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.
CONTRACTOR
Any firm or corporation in the business of supplying and installing alarm devices or servicing the same.
FALSE ALARM
Any activation of an alarm device to which the Police Department 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 company equipment or lines as verified by monitoring facilities at police or fire headquarters or power failure as verified by the administrators. 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."
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former § 75-3, Administrators, was repealed 5-10-2018 ATM by Art. 22.
There shall be in the town an Alarm Appeal Board which shall have all the powers and duties granted to it under this chapter. The Alarm Appeal Board shall consist of the Board of Selectmen.
Each alarm user shall register his alarm device with the appropriate administrator prior to use, provided that alarm devices in use as of the effective date of this chapter may be registered no later than sixty (60) days from such date.
Alarm device registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the appropriate 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 administrators may require. The administrators shall issue the alarm user written acknowledgment of proper registration. It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user to notify the appropriate administrator, in writing, of changes in registration information.
All information in the possession of the administrators, the Police Department or Fire Department concerning particular alarm users and particular alarm devices shall be confidential and shall not be divulged without the written consent of the alarm user or users concerned.
No automatic dial alarm may be installed after the effective date of this chapter without the prior approval of the appropriate administrator. Within six (6) months after the effective date of this chapter, all automatic dial alarms presently in use shall be reprogrammed to dial a designated number within the Police or Fire Department. The automatic dial alarm shall be regulated so as not to repeat the message for more than two (2) times. Service for having automatic dial alarms reprogrammed and regulated shall be at the expense of the user.
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 fifteen (15) minutes. Any alarm device in use as of the effective date of this chapter must comply with this section within one hundred eighty (180) days of such date.
A. 
When the Police Department or the Fire Department has responded to a false alarm, the appropriate administrator shall impose a charge on the responsible alarm user according to the following schedule:
[Amended 5-10-2018 ATM by Art. 22]
(1) 
For the first two (2) false alarms within the calendar year: no charge.
(2) 
For the third and subsequent false alarms within the calendar year: twenty-five dollars ($25.).
B. 
There shall be no charge for the first false alarm occurring within one (1) month after installation of an alarm device, and such false alarm shall not be considered in determining charges in accordance with the schedule set forth herein.
The appropriate administrator shall notify the responsible alarm user of any false alarm charge by mail within thirty (30) days. After the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may file with the appropriate administrator information to show that the alarm was not a false alarm within the meaning of this chapter. The appropriate administrator shall consider such information, reaffirm or rescind the false alarm charge and notify the alarm user of his decision by mail. Within thirty (30) days after mailing such notice, the alarm user may file a written appeal with the Alarm Appeal Board.
Upon receipt of a timely appeal from a false alarm charge, the Alarm Appeal Board shall hold a hearing to consider the same and shall mail notice of the time and place of said hearing to the alarm user making the appeal at his last known address at least fifteen (15) days before the hearing. On the basis of information provided by the alarm user and other information introduced at the hearing, the Alarm Appeal Board shall affirm the charge if it finds that the charge was properly imposed or rescind the charge if the charge was not properly imposed. Each notice of a false alarm charge or the reaffirmation of such a charge by the appropriate administrator shall refer to and provide instructions concerning the alarm user's rights to further recourse by filing information with the administrator(s) or an appeal to the Alarm Appeal Board, as the case may be.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former § 75-13, Appeal fees, was repealed 5-10-2018 ATM by Art. 22.
[Amended 5-10-2018 ATM by Art. 22]
Charges for false alarms will be collected by the administrators and deposited into the general fund of the Town.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the town, 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 failure to respond to alarms or for any other act of omission in connection with such alarm devices. Each alarm user shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the town, 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 subject to a fine of up to two hundred dollars ($200.) for each such act:
A. 
Intentional causing of a false alarm.
B. 
Failure to register an alarm device or give notice of changes in registration information as required by this chapter.
C. 
Use of an automatic dial alarm or an exterior audible alarm device in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
D. 
Failure to pay a charge levied by the administrator acting under § 75-11 hereof within thirty (30) days after mailing of a notice of charge, unless reconsideration is sought pursuant to § 75-11 hereof. If reconsideration is denied, failure to pay such charge within thirty (30) days of the administrator's decision or reconsideration, unless an appeal is sought pursuant to § 75-12 hereof, and if an appeal is denied, failure to pay such charge within fifteen (15) days of the Alarm Appeal Board's mailing of its decision affirming the charge.
The town, at the election of the appropriate administrator, may institute civil or criminal 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 town nor to alarm devices installed in a motor vehicle or trailer.
The invalidity of any part or parts of this chapter shall not affect the validity of the remaining parts.