[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Monroe as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this article is to reduce excessive false alarms, which burden the Monroe Police Department's limited law enforcement resources by emphasizing to both alarm users and alarm companies the need to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems. This article establishes reasonable expectations of alarm users to ensure responsibility for the use of their alarm systems.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR
- The Chief of Police or his designee, who shall administer, control and review false alarm reduction efforts and administer the provisions of this article.
- ALARM COMPANY
- A person or a company engaged in selling, leasing, installing, servicing or monitoring alarm systems.
- ALARM PERMIT
- A permit issued by the Chief of Police allowing the operation of an alarm system within the Town of Monroe.
- ALARM SIGNAL
- A detectable signal, audible or visual, generated by an alarm system, to which the Monroe Police Department is requested to respond.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any single device or assembly of equipment designed to signal the occurrence of an illegal or unauthorized entry or other activity requiring immediate attention, and to which law enforcement is requested to respond, but does not include motor vehicle or boat alarms, fire alarms, domestic violence alarms or alarms designed to elicit a medical response.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, governmental or education entity or any other entity owning, leasing or operating an alarm system or on whose premises an alarm system is maintained for the protection of such premises.
- ALARM USER AWARENESS CLASS
- A class conducted for the purpose of educating alarm users about the responsible use, operation and maintenance of alarm systems and the problems created by false alarms.
- The process where response is terminated when the alarm company (designated by the alarm user) notifies the Monroe Police Department that there is not an existing situation at the alarm site requiring police response after an alarm dispatch request. If cancellation occurs prior to police arriving at the scene, this is not a false alarm for the purpose of civil penalty, and no penalty will be assessed.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the alarm user, his/her employees or agents, and signals activated to summon law enforcement personnel, unless law enforcement response was cancelled by the alarm user or his/her agent before law enforcement personnel arrive at the alarm location. An alarm is false within the meanings of this article when, upon inspection by the Monroe Police Department, evidence indicates that no unauthorized entry, robbery or other such crime was committed or attempted in or on the premises which would have activated a properly functioning alarm system. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a false alarm shall not include an alarm which can reasonably be determined to have been caused or activated by unusually violent conditions of nature nor does it include other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm user.
- LOCAL ALARM
- An alarm system that emits a signal at an alarm site that is audible or visible from the exterior of a structure and is not monitored by a remote monitoring facility, whether installed by an alarm company or user.
- PERMIT YEAR
- A twelve-month period beginning on the day and month on which an alarm permit is issued.
- RUNAWAY ALARM
- An alarm system that produces repeated alarm signals that do not appear to be caused by separate human action. The Monroe Police Department may, in its discretion, discontinue police responses to alarm signals from what appears to be a runaway alarm.
- SIA CONTROL PANEL STANDARD CP-01
- The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) approved Security Industry Association (SIA) CP-01 Control Panel Standard, as may be updated from time to time, that details recommended design features for security system control panels and their associated arming and disarming devices to reduce false alarms. Control panels built and tested to this standard by a nationally recognized testing organization will be marked to state: "Design evaluated in accordance with SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard Features for False Alarm Reduction."
- The Town of Monroe or its agent.
- An attempt by the monitoring company, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request. For the purpose of this article, telephone verification shall require, as a minimum, that a second call be made to a different number, if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify himself or herself to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch.
Permit required. No person shall use an alarm system without first obtaining a permit for such alarm system from the Town of Monroe. This applies to new alarm systems as well as existing alarm systems. There will be no fee required for the initial registration, and the alarm owner shall renew all information annually with the Monroe Police Department with no fee charged to the alarm owner. Each alarm permit shall be assigned a unique permit number, and the user shall provide the permit number to the alarm company to facilitate law enforcement dispatch.
Application. The permit shall be requested on an application form provided by the Town of Monroe. An alarm user has the duty to obtain an application from the Town.
Transfer of possession. When the possession of the premises at which an alarm system is maintained is transferred, the person (user) obtaining possession of the property shall file an application for an alarm permit within 30 days of obtaining possession of the property. Alarm permits are not transferable.
Reporting updated information. Whenever the information provided on the alarm permit application changes, the alarm user shall provide correct information to the Town of Monroe within 30 days of the change. In addition, each year after the issuance of the permit, permit holders will receive from the Town a form requesting updated information. The permit holder shall complete and return this form to the Town when any of the requested information has changed; failure to comply will constitute a violation and may result in a civil penalty.
Multiple alarm systems. If an alarm user has one or more alarm systems protecting two or more separate structures having different addresses and/or tenants, a separate permit shall be required for each structure and/or tenant.
The alarm user must:
Maintain the premises and the alarm system in a method that will reduce or eliminate false alarms.
Provide the alarm company the permit number. (The number must be provided to the Police Department communications center by the alarm company to ensure dispatch.)
Respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm system's location within 30 minutes when notified by the Monroe Police Department to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm system.
Not manually activate an alarm for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report or to perform routine maintenance as prescribed by alarm system provider.
Obtain a new permit and pay any associated fees if there is a change in address or ownership of a business or residence.
Any person engaged in the alarm business in the Town of Monroe shall comply with the following:
Obtain and maintain the required State of Connecticut license(s);
Be able to provide the name, address and telephone number of the license holder or a designee who can be called in an emergency, 24 hours a day, and be able to respond to an alarm call, when notified, within two hours; and
Be able to provide the most current contact information for the alarm user.
The alarm company shall provide written and oral instructions to each of its alarm users in the proper operation of their alarm system, including the proper method of turning the system on and off and how to avoid false alarms.
Ninety days after the enactment of this article, the alarm installation companies shall, on all new and upgraded installations, use only alarm control panel(s) which meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.
Prior to activation of the alarm system, the alarm company must provide instructions explaining the proper operation of the alarm system to the alarm user.
The alarm company must provide written information on how to obtain service from the alarm company for the alarm system.
An alarm company performing monitoring services shall:
Attempt to verify an alarm, by calling the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting Police Department dispatch. Telephone verification shall require, as a minimum, that a second call be made to a different number if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify himself or herself to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid, except in the case of a panic or robbery-in-progress alarm or in cases where a crime-in-progress has been verified by video and/or audible means.
Provide an alarm user registration number to the Police Department communications center to facilitate dispatch and /or cancellations.
Communicate any available information about the alarm.
Communicate a cancellation to the Police Department communications center as soon as possible following a determination that response is unnecessary.
It shall be unlawful to activate an alarm system for the purpose of summoning law enforcement when there is no reasonable belief that a burglary, robbery or any other crime against life or property is being committed or attempted on the premises or to otherwise cause a false alarm.
It shall be unlawful to install, maintain or use an audible alarm system which can sound continually for more than 10 minutes.
Excessive false alarms/failure to register. Two or more false alarms within a permit year is excessive, constitutes a public nuisance and shall be unlawful. Fines for excessive false alarms within a calendar year may be assessed against an alarm user as follows:
Other fees. Violations of other sections of this article will be enforced through the assessment of a fee in the amount of $100 per violation.
Payment of fees. Fees shall be paid within 30 days from the date of the invoice.
Civil noncriminal violation. A violation of any of the provisions of this article may cause civil action and shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.
Allocation of fees. All fees received under this section shall be credited to a separate account to be used to improve the police service.
The Town of Monroe may create and implement an alarm user awareness class and may request the assistance of the area alarm companies to assist in developing and implementing the class. The class shall inform alarm users of the problems created by false alarms and instruct alarm users how to help reduce false alarms. The Town may grant the option of attending a class in lieu of paying one assessed fine.
Appeals process. Assessments of civil penalty(ies) and other enforcement decisions made under this article may be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal with the Monroe Police Department within 10 days after the date of notification of the assessment of civil fees or other enforcement decision. The failure to give notice of appeal within this time period shall constitute a waiver of the right to contest the assessment of penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision. Appeals shall be heard through an administrative process established by the Town of Monroe and subject to the Statutes of the State of Connecticut. The initial appeal shall be heard by the Police Chief or his/her designee. Secondary appeals shall be submitted directly to the Board of Police Commissioners who shall act in the capacity of a hearing board.
Appeal standard. The hearing board shall review an appeal from the assessment of civil penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision using a preponderance of the evidence standard. Notwithstanding a determination that the preponderance of the evidence supports the assessment of civil penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision, the hearing board shall have the discretion to dismiss or reduce civil fees or reverse any other enforcement decision where warranted.
In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the alarm registration applications, no-response records, applications for appeals and any other alarm records shall be held in confidence by all employees and/or representatives of the Town of Monroe.
Alarm registration is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, for response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed, and governmental immunity, as provided by law, is retained. By applying for an alarm registration, the alarm user acknowledges that the Monroe Police Department response may be influenced by factors such as the availability of police units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels and prior response history.
No fees or fines shall be assessed for alarm systems installed by or on behalf of the Town of Monroe or the Board of Education. However, the applicable municipal department or Board of Education shall register any such alarm system with the Police Department. There shall be no fees charged to the Town of Monroe or the Monroe Board of Education for alarm registration.