[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of certain local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
Noise — See Ch. 618.
[Adopted 12-11-1979 by L.L. No. 34-1979 (Ch. 213, Art. I, of the 1985 Code)]
The purpose of this article is as follows:
To promote the safety and welfare of the citizens of Suffolk County, minimizing, to the fullest extent practicable, the number of false burglary and fire alarms.
To increase the efficiency of the Suffolk County Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in executing their duties by reducing, to the fullest extent practicable, the number of false alarms.
The Suffolk County Legislature, after due deliberation, makes the following findings:
The overwhelming majority of burglary alarm calls are due either to faulty alarms or to the accidental setting off of the alarm by the owner or the user of the alarm system or device.
Approximately 30,000 false alarms have occurred on an annual basis in the last several years, resulting in an unconscionable and an unnecessary waste of man-hours and taxpayer expense.
The high incidence of alarm systems or devices emitting a false alarm poses a clear danger to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Suffolk County.
Any alarm system, as defined herein, emitting a false alarm, which automatically and directly dials any emergency phone number, is very prone to be activated by electrical current failures or other events having no connection with criminal activity and to tie up such emergency phones, making them unavailable to receive genuine emergency calls.
Any alarm device or system emitting a false call or alarm is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and threat to the safety, security and well-being of the citizens of Suffolk County.
Any alarm systems or devices emitting a false alarm seriously disrupts law enforcement operations, undermines law enforcement efficiency and seriously impairs the ability of law enforcement personnel to respond to legitimate emergency situations.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM OWNER
- Any person, corporation, partnership or joint venture who
or which owns, leases, rents, uses or makes available for use by his
or its agents, employees, representatives or family any alarm system.[Amended 7-6-1982 by L.L. No. 13-1982]
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device, system or instrument, whether known as a burglary, robbery or intrusion alarm, direct-dial telephone device, audible or silent or by any other name, which is designed or maintained or intended to detect an unauthorized entry into any building, structure or facility or to signal the commission of an unlawful act or any other emergency. Any device installed by a telephone company to protect telephone company systems which might be damaged or disrupted by the use of an alarm system is not included in this definition.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- An alarm system designed to notify persons in the immediate vicinity of the protected premises, by emission of an audible sound, of an unauthorized entry on the premises or of the commission of an unlawful act or emergency condition.
- DIRECT-DIAL SERVICE
- An alarm system which is connected to a telephone line and, upon activation of an alarm system, which automatically dials a predetermined telephone number and transmits a message or signal indicating the need for emergency response by any law enforcement agency. Such direct-dial service connected to the phone of a neighbor, friend, owner, central office or answering service is not affected by this article.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal activated by causes or events other than
the commission or attempted commission of an unlawful act or emergency
which the alarm system is designated to detect. An alarm signal activated
by violent or unusual conditions of nature or other extraordinary
circumstances not subject to the control of the alarm owner shall
not constitute a false alarm.[Amended 6-10-1980 by L.L. No. 17-1980]
[Amended 6-10-1980 by L.L. No. 17-1980; 7-6-1982 by L.L. No. 13-1982; 3-12-1985 by L.L. No. 4-1985]
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this article for an alarm owner to use an alarm system which is equipped with a functioning direct-dial service which, when activated, automatically dials a number in any office of the Suffolk County Police Department.
No audible alarm may be installed in any building or structure unless it is installed and designed to terminate its operation or to automatically reset within 60 minutes of its being activated. For every audible alarm installed in a commercial structure, the owner thereof may post a coded sticker, to be obtained from the local police precinct upon voluntary registration with such precinct for police identification only. Such posting shall be visible to the general public outside the building in which the alarm is contained.
Any person or alarm owner who violates a provision of this article shall be subject to a fine in the following amounts:
[Amended 7-6-1982 by L.L. No. 13-1982]
The enforcement provision of this article shall be in addition to any other criminal or civil cause of action against the alarm owner or person.
The enforcement of this article shall be the responsibility of the police department having jurisdiction in the geographical area in which the alarm system is located.
[Added 6-10-1980 by L.L. No. 17-1980]
[Adopted 12-15-2015 by L.L. No. 42-2015; amended in its entirety 11-22-2016 by L.L. No. 33-2016]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM COMPANY
- Any person, corporation, company, partnership or joint venture engaged in selling, leasing, installing, servicing or monitoring alarm systems that is licensed in accordance with New York State law.
- ALARM OWNER
- Any person, corporation, company, partnership or joint venture who or which owns, leases, rents, or uses an alarm system or makes an alarm system available for use by his/her or its agents, employees, representatives, tenants or family. An alarm owner shall not include any governmental entity.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device, system or instrument, whether known as a burglary, robbery or intrusion alarm, direct-dial telephone device, audible or silent, or by any other name, which is designed or maintained or intended to detect an unauthorized entry into any building, structure, facility, or any designated portion thereof, or designed to signal the commission of an unlawful act or any other emergency, regardless of whether or not such device is connected to any telephone line that is dialed upon its activation. This definition shall not include any device installed by a telephone company to protect telephone company systems which might be damaged or disrupted by the use of an alarm system.
- The Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.
- The Suffolk County Police Department.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm signal to the Department activated by causes or events other than the commission or attempted commission of an unlawful act or emergency which the alarm system is designed to detect. This shall include, but not be limited to, mechanical failure, accidental tripping, misoperation, malfunction, misuse or neglect of the alarm system, but shall not include alarms caused by earthquakes, high winds, verifiable utility failures or external causes beyond the control of the alarm owner or alarms caused by smoke, fire or carbon monoxide.
- NONRESIDENTIAL BUILDING
- Any improved property consisting of a building or structure that is not a residential building.
- POLICE DISTRICT
- The geographical area under the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Police Department, as defined in Article XIII of the Suffolk County Charter.
- RESIDENTIAL BUILDING
- Any improved property consisting of a building or structure designed and occupied exclusively for residential purposes by not more than two families.
No alarm owner shall operate an alarm system within the Suffolk County Police District without first obtaining a permit for such alarm system from the Department. All permits issued by the Department shall be issued a unique permit number.
It shall be the duty of the alarm owner to obtain an application for a permit from the Department prior to operation. Such application shall be submitted in a form, manner, and containing such information as is required by the Department, including, but not limited to, whether the property is a residential building or a nonresidential building, along with the nonrefundable permit fee.
Upon receipt of a permit number from the Department, an alarm owner shall provide such permit number to an alarm company, if any.
A permit for an alarm system issued to an alarm owner may not be transferred to another alarm user or transferred to any other residential building or nonresidential building owned, leased, rented, used or available for use of the permitted alarm owner.
No permit, or any renewal thereof, shall be issued by the Department until payment is received from the alarm owner.
All permits issued by the Department shall expire two years from the date of issuance and are required to be renewed on a biennial basis. The Department shall notify an alarm owner electronically or in writing 60 days in advance of a renewal; however, it shall be the duty of the alarm owner to submit a renewal application prior to the expiration date of any permit issued by the Department. Such renewal application shall contain such information as is required by the Department.
The registration fee for an alarm system permit shall be $50 for a residential building and $100 for a nonresidential building.
Failure of an alarm owner to pay a renewal fee prior to the date of expiration of a permit shall result in a late fee in the amount of $10, in addition to the amount of the renewal fee. In the event an alarm owner fails to pay the renewal fee within 30 days of expiration, the permit shall be deemed expired and the alarm owner shall be required to obtain a new permit in accordance with this article. An alarm owner who has allowed his/her permit to expire and receives a notification of a false alarm without obtaining a new permit shall be subject to the false alarm fees set forth in § 290-9B below.
The biennial renewal fee shall be $50 for a residential building and $100 for a nonresidential building. The biennial renewal fee for residential buildings owned by registrants who are 70 years of age or over shall be $25.
A permitted alarm owner shall be subject to warnings and fees for false alarm notifications issued by the Department for each occurrence of a false alarm occurring within any one year of the anniversary date of the issuance of the permit, in accordance with the following graduated schedule:
An alarm owner that has failed to procure a permit from the Department as required by § 290-8 above shall be subject to fees different from a permitted alarm owner for false alarm notifications issued by the Department occurring within 12 consecutive months calculated from the date of the first instance of a false alarm occurrence, in accordance with the following graduated schedule:
More than one false alarm within 24 hours shall be counted as one occurrence.
An alarm owner shall be given written notice by the Department of any fees chargeable by the Department for false alarms under this section. An alarm owner shall pay all demanded fees within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice unless an alarm owner requests an appeal in accordance with § 290-10 below. Failure of an alarm owner to pay a false alarm fee when due shall result in a late fee in the amount of $25, and $50 for amounts due and owing past 60 days.
Any person or entity that receives a notice of false alarm fees or any other fines or fees due under this article may appeal such fines or fees by filing a notice of appeal in such form as provided by the Department, with the Commissioner, within 30 days of receipt of the notice. The Commissioner shall make a determination on the appeal within 60 days of receipt. All final written determinations of the Commissioner shall be appealable in accordance with Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The Commissioner shall have the power to promulgate, amend and/or repeal rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this article as may be necessary with respect to the form and content of applications alarm system permits, appeals processes, for the reception thereof, and other matters incidental or necessary to carry out the proper administration and enforcement of this article. The rules and regulations shall include a written protocol for police officers responding to false alarms, including a checklist of the actions a police officer must complete before leaving the scene of a false alarm. A copy of all rules and regulations promulgated and any amendments thereto shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature.
Any and all records prepared, created, and maintained by the Department in connection with this article shall be kept confidential and exempt from disclosure in accordance with and under the provisions of the New York Public Officers Law.