[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Mount Joy as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-7-1993 by Ord. No. 505 (Ch. 13, Part 5, of the 1992 Code of Ordinances)]
As used in this article, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the following meanings, unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended:
- A. Any person who is self-employed in or employed by an alarm business, either directly or indirectly, whose duties include any of the following:
- B. This definition does not include a person who engages in the manufacture or sale of an automatic protection device from a fixed location and who neither visits the location where the automatic protection device is to be installed nor designs the scheme for physical location and installation of the automatic protection device at or in a specific location.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business engaged in selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any automatic protection device or causing to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any automatic protection device in or on any building, structure or facility or employing alarm agent(s). This definition does not include any person who engages in the manufacture or sale of an automatic protection device from a fixed location and who neither visits the location where the automatic protection device is to be installed nor designs the scheme for physical location and installation of the automatic protection device at or in a specific location.
- ALARM SUBSCRIBER PERMIT
- The permit required under this article to authorize installation, maintenance and use of an APD within the Borough.
- See "automatic protection device."
- Any person who files an application for a new or renewal permit as provided in this article.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- Any alarm system or mechanical or electrically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which is designed or used for the detection of an unauthorized entry into a building, structure or facility or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act within a building, structure or facility, or both, or the detection of a hazardous condition resulting from fire, heat, smoke or explosion within a building, structure or facility and which emits a sound or transmits a signal or message when activated. Automatic protection devices include, but are not limited to, audible alarms, automatic dialing devices, alarms connected directly to communications centers and proprietor alarms. Automatic protection devices may be referred to in this article as "APD(s)." The following devices shall not be included under the definition of APD(s):
- A. Devices which are not designed or used to register alarms that are audible, visible or perceptible outside of the protected building, structure or facility, such as those systems designed for the detection of equipment malfunctions.
- B. Devices which are designed for and installed upon motorized vehicles or trailers.
- C. Devices maintained and operated by the Mount Joy Borough Police Department used for the detection of unlawful acts and known as "portable stakeout alarm systems."
- The Borough of Mount Joy, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
- BUSINESS PERMIT
- The permit required under this article to operate an alarm business within the Borough.
- COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
- The communications room in the Police Department or that of the Lancaster County Fire and Police Radio Network and other rooms which house auxiliary communications equipment.
- EMERGENCY SITUATION
- A sudden or unforeseen situation involving potential danger to one or more people or structures and which reasonably requires the attention of a police officer or firefighter.
- FALSE ALARM
- An activation of an APD signal, necessitating response by the Police Department or Fire Department, where an emergency situation does not exist. The term does not include alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent acts or acts of nature.
- FIRE CHIEF
- The Fire Chief of the Fire Department responsible for the fire protection of the Borough.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Fire Department responsible for the fire protection services within the Borough.
- A written notice, given by personal service upon the addressee or given by United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the person to be notified at his last known address, return receipt requested. Service of such notice shall be effective upon the completion of personal service or upon mailing.
- Written permission, duly granted to the applicant by the Chief of Police upon the payment of the required fee.
- Any person who shall be granted a permit as provided herein and his or its agents and representatives.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind and the officers of such corporation and the members of such partnership or association.
- POLICE CHIEF
- The Chief of Police of the Police Department or his designated representatives.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Police Department of the Borough.
- PROPRIETARY ALARM
- Any APD which sounds within the protected premises or control center under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected building, structure or facility. If police or fire response is expected or is a result of that proprietary alarm signal or message, it thereby becomes an APD.
- RESPONSE ASSESSMENT FEE
- A fee charged to a permittee for each and every false alarm
activation in excess of one in any one-year (three-hundred-sixty-five-day)
period, with such period commencing on the date of the first false
alarm, or the anniversary date of the first false alarm, to which
the Police or Fire Department responds.[Amended 5-4-2009 by Ord. No. 5-09]
- RESPONSE ASSESSMENT FEE NOTICE
- A written notice advising of a response assessment fee.
- A person who has an APD installed on real estate in which the person has an interest or who has applied for the installation of an APD or who is the user of an APD.
Editor's Note: The original definition of "calendar year," which immediately followed this definition, was deleted 5-4-2009 by Ord. No. 5-09.
Agent identification required. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in or conduct business or operate as an alarm agent at any time within the limits of the Borough unless connected with and carrying identification from a business which has been issued a business permit in accordance with the provisions of this article. Agent identification shall be carried at all times while engaging in alarm business activities and shall be displayed to any police officer or Fire Chief within his respective jurisdiction upon request.
Alarm subscriber permit required. It shall be unlawful for any person to use an APD at any time within the Borough without first applying for, receiving and maintaining an alarm subscriber permit in accordance with the provisions of this article and to have that permit on the premises where the system is located and to produce such permit to any police officer or Fire Chief within his respective jurisdiction upon request.
Altering permit. It is unlawful for any person to modify, alter or change a permit or have in their possession a permit which has been modified, altered or changed, except for personnel of the Police Department in implementing or enforcing the provisions of this article.
Automatic dialing device. It shall be unlawful for any person to authorize or interconnect an APD to a communications center telephone line not designated for such connections or to connect an automatic dialing device to any Borough telephone line.
Business permit required. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in conduct or carry on an alarm business at any time within the Borough without first applying for, receiving and maintaining an alarm business permit in accordance with the provisions of this article.
Testing prohibited without permission. It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any test or demonstration of any APD designed to make a direct connection to the Police and Fire Communications Center at any time within the Borough without first obtaining permission from the Police or Fire Department. Such permission is not required where the equipment to be tested or demonstrated is connected to an intermediary and the receipt of the alarm or signal is not relayed to the Police or Fire Department by any means.
To obtain a permit, a person shall complete a written application which shall contain such information as is reasonably required by the Police Department. Applications for renewal of permits will be processed in the same manner as initial applications.
Applicants shall agree, as a condition for receiving and keeping permits, to notify the Police Department, in writing, within 10 days of any changes in the application currently on file, i.e., ownership, management or persons to be notified in the event of an alarm activation.
Applicants for business permits shall agree, in writing and as a condition for receiving and keeping permits, to do the following:
To notify the Police Department within 10 days of any substantial change affecting the status or validity of their permit.
To issue, to all alarm agents connected with or in the employ of the business, identification cards containing, at a minimum:
To supply the Police Department and the Fire Department with a complete list of the names and addresses of all persons within the Borough to whom or for whom APD systems have been sold or installed or who are currently under contract for service to such a system.
Following the completion of the application and payment of the appropriate fee as indicated in § 85-4 below, the Police Department shall have 15 working days to investigate the applicant, process the application and to grant or deny a permit.
Permits to any applicant shall be denied if:
The applicant does not agree to comply or fails to comply with the requirements of this article and rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this article.
The applicant has knowingly made any false, misleading or fraudulent statement in the application or in any report or record required to be filed with the Borough.
The applicant fails to pay all due or past due response assessment fees, fines, costs or other charges owed, which were related to any previously issued permit(s).
When an application for a permit is denied, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the denial, with the basis thereof. If the reason(s) for denial are correctable, the applicant will be so advised with suggestions on how these corrections can be made and what time limit has been set for making said corrections. The notice of denial shall inform the applicant that appeals may be made in the manner outlined in § 85-5 of this article.
When an application for any permit is approved, the Chief of Police or his designated representatives are authorized to sign and issue the appropriate permit.
Business permit. A permit fee, in an amount established by resolution or ordinance of Borough Council, shall be due and payable by January 1 of each year. No proration is permitted of the initial fee, even though applied for and approved after January 1.
Alarm subscriber permit. A permit fee, in an amount established by resolution or ordinance of Borough Council, shall be due and payable for alarm subscriber permits. Alarm subscriber permits shall be valid for a maximum of three years. No proration of the alarm subscriber permit for the first year is permitted.
Response assessment fees. A response assessment fee shall be due and payable within 10 days following the receipt of the written notice of a false alarm, unless extended for cause by the Chief of Police.
[Amended 5-4-2009 by Ord. No. 5-09]
Response assessment fees for false alarms shall be calculated for each one-year period, commencing on the date of the first false alarm or the anniversary date of the first false alarm, as follows:
Borough Council shall have the power and shall be authorized to amend the response assessment fees set forth in this section by resolution duly adopted.
Waiver. The Chief of Police may waive the payment of a response assessment fee upon written notification by the permittee and verification by the Chief of Police that such false alarm was caused by an act of nature, as to an APD which has been installed or modified within 30 days prior to the false alarm, or when the permittee presents written verification that the APD has been inspected, serviced and repaired after the false alarm and within 15 days of the false alarm, where the Chief of Police or his designee concludes that the false alarm resulted from a good faith user familiarization process or the process of adjustment of mechanical malfunction.
The following persons are exempted from the payment of alarm subscriber permit fees:
The United States government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the County of Lancaster, municipal corporations and departments thereof and other governmental entities.
A residential APD subscriber who is over the age of 65 and is the primary resident of the residence, if no business is conducted in the residence, may obtain an alarm subscriber permit from the Police Department according to this article without a payment of a fee. Such a permittee is not exempted from response assessment fees.
Any person aggrieved by denial of an application for a permit or renewal of a permit shall have the right to appeal.
An appeal shall be filed within 10 days after service of a notice from the Chief of Police by filing with the Borough a letter of appeal briefly stating therein the basis for the appeal, together with a filing and processing fee in the amount established by ordinance or resolution of Borough Council.
Failure to file a letter of appeal within said 10 days shall constitute a waiver of the appellant's right to a hearing; however, the Borough Council may nevertheless grant such a hearing, in its sole discretion, upon the appellant showing good cause for the delay.
A hearing before the Borough Council shall be scheduled for a date no later than 30 days after receipt of the letter of appeal. At least five days' advance notice of the time and date of the hearing shall be sent to the appellant.
At the hearing, the Borough Council, the appellant and any other interested party shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard in order to show cause why the determination of the Chief of Police should not be upheld. In all cases, the burden of proof shall be upon the appellant to show that there was no substantial evidence to support the decision of the Chief of Police.
The hearing may be recorded by tape or other mechanical means.
Enforcement and administration of this article shall be the responsibility of the Police Department through the authority of the Chief of Police or his designated representatives.
The Police Chief may promulgate such rules as are necessary for administration and enforcement of this article. Any such rules promulgated shall be approved by the Borough Council and shall be available for public inspection.
Where an APD which is directly connected to a communications center is activated and continues to transmit a signal, either through malfunction or defect in the system, the Police and Fire Department(s) are authorized to disconnect the APD until such time as repairs are made.
In addition to any criteria set forth in the rules of the Police Chief promulgated under the terms of this article, all APDs installed or modified on or after the effective date of this article shall have a backup power source sufficient to prevent the issuance of a false alarm resulting from a power outage lasting 180 seconds or less.
The issuance of any permit shall not constitute acceptance by the Borough of any liability to maintain any equipment or to answer alarms, nor otherwise render the Borough liable to any person for any loss or damage relating to the APD or from the procedure followed by the Borough.
The information furnished and secured pursuant to this article shall be confidential in character and shall not, to the extent permitted by law, be subject to public inspection and shall be kept so that the contents thereof shall not be known except to persons charged with the administration of this article.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine to the Borough of not less than $25 nor more than $600 for each offense and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment, to undergo imprisonment not exceeding 30 days.