[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Kent as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-19-2009 by L.L. No. 6-2009]
This article shall be known as the "Burglar and Fire Alarm Device Control Law."
The frequency of false burglar and fire alarms emanating from automated devices have 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 have experienced delays in receiving the same. This article is intended to remedy this waste by seeking to suppress the number of automated false alarms generated in the Town of Kent without unreasonably interfering with the use of such alarm devices when they fulfill the purpose for which they are intended.
For the purpose of this article, 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 person, business or entity upon whose premises an alarm device is installed within the Town of Kent.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Town of Kent.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm device which results in the response by police personnel to any place within the Town of Kent 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 DEPARTMENT
- The Town of Kent Police Department.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of the Town of Kent.
All persons who desire to become alarm users in the Town of Kent shall obtain an alarm user permit from the Police Department. Applications for such permit shall be made on forms prescribed by the Chief of Police 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 article 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; and
Such other information as may be reasonably required by the 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 article or to provide emergency services to alarm users.
Any time real property is transferred or there is a change of occupancy in rental property, the seller shall notify the purchaser of the requirement to notify the Police Department of his/her new contact information.
The fee for issuance of an alarm user permit shall be an amount as set forth by resolution of the Town Board and included in the fee schedule. Such permits shall be issued without expiration date.
[Amended 3-7-2017 by L.L. No. 2-2017]
Editor's Note: The fee schedule is on file in the Town offices.
Application for a new permit shall be made upon any change in ownership or, in the case of renal property, a change of the occupant(s) of the premises where an alarm device is located.
Any alarm user who shall install or have installed or who maintains an alarm device in the Town of Kent without 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 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.
Editor’s Note: Former § 22-8, Waiver of permit fee for senior citizens, was repealed 3-7-2017 by L.L. No. 2-2017.
In addition to any other requirement, an applicant for an alarm user permit for any alarm device which shall have the capability to transmit a request for emergency services on an urgent basis in the event of medical emergency, a crime in progress, or other extreme emergency shall provide written permission authorizing police personnel to forcibly enter the premises without notice to the alarm user.
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.
No alarm user permit shall be issued for any alarm device which shall emit an uninterrupted audible signal for a period of longer than 15 minutes. Police or fire personnel responding to audible alarms are hereby authorized to disable the same without liability for any damage to such device if the audible signal shall sound for more than 15 minutes without interruption. Any such alarm device which has a mechanism to reset such alarm shall be equipped so that successive sounding of the alarm device shall be limited to no more than three fifteen-minute audible signals. The sounding of such alarm device for more than 15 minutes or for more than three fifteen-minute intervals shall be considered a false alarm whether or not an actual emergency triggered such device.
No alarm user permit shall be issued unless the following requirements are met:
The premises shall display a building or house 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 eight hours in the event of a power failure.
Any alarm user who shall be determined by police personnel to have issued more than three false alarms in any one twelve-month period shall be liable for a civil penalty of $50 each for any fourth or fifth such false alarm. Any additional false alarm in such twelve-month period shall subject the user to a civil penalty of $100 for each such subsequent false alarm.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall maintain records of all false alarms reported pursuant to this article. A warning letter may be sent at the discretion of the Chief of Police to any alarm user who shall have permitted up to three false alarms in any twelve-month period. When a fourth or 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 Kent Town Board. Payment of the amount assessed shall become a lien against the property if not paid within 45 days from the date 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 Chief of Police shall revoke any alarm user permit when 10 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 reoccur 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 Chief of Police shall be subject to review by the Kent Town 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 Police Chief. A request for review shall stay the revocation of the alarm user's permit until after the determination of the Kent Town 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 Chief of Police 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 § 22-14, Revocation of permit. If this affirmative defense is alleged and proven, the court may, in its discretion, reduce the fine to a minimum of $50.
The Chief of Police 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 Kent. However, all other provisions of this article shall apply, and the alarm user shall be liable for any civil or criminal penalty which may apply.
The Kent Town Board may 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 Chief of Police may promulgate such rules, regulations and standards applicable to alarm devices and alarm users consistent with this article, which are necessary for the purpose of effective administration of this article. 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 permit.
If any section, paragraph, clause, provision or portion of this article shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of the balance of this article as a whole or any part or provision other than the part held to be invalid or unenforceable.
This article shall take effect on the first day of the month following the month during which it has been filed with the Secretary of State.