[HISTORY: Adopted by the City of Norwalk Common Council as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Ordinance Regulating Burglar and Holdup Alarm Systems and Users."
The purpose of this article is to reduce the number of false alarms and promote the responsible use of alarm devices, thereby improving the members of the Police Department who must respond to such alarms.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device or assembly of equipment arranged to signal, audibly or visibly, the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police and fire personnel are expected to respond. In this article, the term "alarm system" shall include the terms "automatic holdup alarm system," "burglar alarm system," "holdup alarm system" and "manual holdup alarm system." Alarm systems which monitor temperature, humidity or any other condition not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into a premises or an attempted robbery or a fire or smoke condition at a premises are specifically excluded from the provisions of this article.
- ALARM USER
- Any person on whose premises an alarm system is maintained within the City of Norwalk, except alarm systems on motor vehicles or proprietary alarms. If, however, an alarm system on a motor vehicle is connected with an alarm system at a premises (other than a proprietary system), the person using such system is an alarm user. Also excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this article are persons who use alarm systems to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm system is located of an attempted unauthorized intrusion or holdup attempt. If such system, however, employs an audible signal emitting sounds or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, such system shall be within the definition of "alarm system" and shall be subject to this article.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- An alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or a coded signal indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.
- AUTOMATIC HOLDUP ALARM SYSTEM
- An alarm system in which the signal is initiated by the action of the robber.
- BURGLARY ALARM SYSTEM
- An alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the area protected by the system.
- CENTRAL STATION
- An office to which remote alarm devices are connected where operators monitor those signals and relay information to the Police Department.
- The City of Norwalk, County of Fairfield, Connecticut.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents. Such terminology does not include, for example, alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent conditions. "False alarms" shall not mean alarms transmitted because of a watermain break or similar causes that occur outside of the protected property. "False alarms," as defined in this article, also do not include those alarms that are transmitted with a criminal, malicious or mischievous intent.
- HOLDUP ALARM SYSTEM
- An alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.
- MANUAL HOLDUP ALARM
- An alarm system in which the signal transmission is initiated by the direct action of the person attacked or by an observer of the attack.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The publicly supported Police Department of the City of Norwalk.
Central stations are required to call the alarm user before calling the Police Department.
Unless required by law, no alarm device which produces an exterior audible signal shall be permitted unless its operation is automatically restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes.
Permission is not required to test or demonstrate alarm devices not transmitting signals directly to the Police Department. If such signals are to be relayed to the Police Department, permission from the head of the affected department or his designee must first be obtained.
Editor's Note: Former §§ 11A-7, False alarms, 11A-8, Municipal responsibility, and 11A-9, Exceptions, were repealed 1-28-2003.
It is determined that the number of false alarms being made to the Norwalk Police and Fire Departments hinders the efficiency of those Departments, lowers the morale of Department personnel, constitutes a danger to the general public during responses to false alarms, and that the adoption of this article will reduce the number of false alarms and promote the responsible use of alarm devices in Norwalk.
The general welfare and safety of the residents of Norwalk will be best served and protected by the establishment and implementation of an ordinance requiring the registration of alarm devices and establishing a mechanism to reduce the number of false alarms and promote the responsible use of alarm devices in Norwalk.
For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply.
- 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 the Police or Fire Department; transmits a signal to a person who relays information to the Police or Fire Department; 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 article are devices which are designed to alert or signal only persons within the premises in which the device is installed.
- ALARM USER
- The owner of any premises in which an alarm device is used, provided that an occupant who expressly accepts responsibility for an alarm device by registration pursuant to § 11A-14 shall be deemed the "alarm user."
- AUTOMATIC DIAL ALARM
- A telephone device or attachment that mechanically or electronically selects a telephone line to the Police or Fire Department and reproduces a prerecorded voice message to report a criminal act, fire or other emergency calling for Police or Fire Department response.
- CENTRAL STATION
- An office to which remote alarm devices transmit signals where operators monitor those signals and relay information to the Police and Fire Departments.
- Any person, 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 or Fire Department responds and which is not the result of an actual emergency.
The Chief of the Norwalk Police Department and the Chief of the Norwalk Fire Department shall jointly designate an Alarm Administrator for alarm devices who shall have the powers and duties granted under this article.
There shall be an Alarm Appeal Board, which shall have the powers and duties granted to it under this article.
The Alarm Appeal Board shall consist of five members, at least one of whom shall have experience with installing or servicing alarm devices. Each member shall be nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. The Mayor will designate the Chairman. Each initial member shall serve until January 1, 2005. All members shall be electors of the City of Norwalk and shall serve without compensation. Further appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for terms of four years. Appointed members shall serve until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified. Vacancies in the membership shall be filled for the unexpired portion of a term in the same manner as regular appointments.
Three members of such Board shall constitute a quorum. All decisions of the Board shall be made by agreement of a majority of those present and voting.
On or after 90 days of the effective date of this article:
No person, firm or corporation shall install an alarm device without first providing the Alarm Administrator with the name, address and phone number of the owner of the premises wherein an alarm device is to be installed. An occupant of such premises, other than the owner, can accept responsibility for an alarm device used on the premises by executing a written acceptance form and filing the name with the Alarm Administrator.
Each alarm user shall register his alarm device or devices with the Alarm Administrator prior to use of the alarm device.
Each user of an existing alarm device or contractor acting on behalf of an alarm user shall register the alarm device with the Alarm Administrator.
Alarm device registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the Alarm Administrator which shall require such information concerning the identity of the proposed alarm user, the identity of the alarm user's contractor, if any, and the nature of the proposed alarm device, as the Alarm Administrator may require. The Alarm Administrator shall issue the alarm user a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
It shall be the responsibility of each alarm user who has possession of the premises to notify the Alarm Administrator of changes in registration information.
Each central station which plans to transmit signals to the Norwalk Police or Fire Department must register with the Alarm Administrator before doing so.
Central station registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the Alarm Administrator which shall include such information as the Administrator may require concerning the identity of the applicant, the type of its business organization (individual proprietorship, partnership, corporation), the principal place of business of the entity, the location of the office monitoring alarms and the alarm users in Norwalk served by the station. The Administrator shall issue the central station a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
It shall be the responsibility of each central station to notify the Administrator of any change in the registration information in writing within 30 days, but such notification need not be given more frequently than once a month.
Each contractor that wishes to provide authorized alarm device inspection and repair services shall register with the Alarm Administrator.
Contractor registration shall be accomplished by filling out a form provided by the Alarm Administrator which shall include such information concerning the identity of the applicant, the type of its business organization (individual proprietorship, partnership, corporation), the principal place of business of the entity, the places of business from which Norwalk alarm users will be served, the types and makes of equipment the contractor is qualified to service, as the Administrator may require. The Administrator shall issue the contractor a written acknowledgment of proper registration.
It shall be the responsibility of each contractor to notify in writing the Alarm Administrator of changes in the registration information within 30 days of the change.
The Norwalk Police Department and Norwalk Fire Department shall report false alarms to the Alarm Administrator, based upon the report of the investigating officer.
It shall be the responsibility of the central station to notify the alarm user whenever the central station reports an alarm to the Norwalk Police Department or Fire Department.
When the Alarm Administrator determines that the Police Department or Fire Department has responded to a false alarm, the Alarm Administrator shall impose a charge on the responsible alarm user according to the following schedule:
Failure to pay any such charge within 30 days of the imposition thereof shall constitute a separate violation of this article. Each month thereafter that a charge remains unpaid shall constitute a separate violation.
Charges may be amended by a fee schedule enacted by the Common Council.
The Alarm Administrator shall notify the responsible alarm user of any false alarm charge by mail addressed to the alarm user at the address noted on the registration form on file. Within 30 days after receipt of such notice, the alarm user may file with the Administrator information to show that the alarm was not a false alarm within the meaning of this article. Notice shall be deemed to be received within seven days from date of mailing.
The Administrator shall consider all such information, reaffirm or rescind the false alarm charge based on the use of reasonable judgment and notify the alarm user of its decision by mail. No later than 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user may file with the Alarm Appeal Board an appeal, in writing, to challenge the basis for the Alarm Administrator's decision.
Any person who performs or causes to be performed any of the following acts shall be subject to a penalty not to exceed $75 for each such act:
Failure to register an alarm device, central station or contractor or give notice of changes in registration information within the required times and as required by this article.
Use of an automatic dial alarm device.
Installation of an alarm device without first providing the Alarm Administrator with the name, address and phone number of the owner of and the alarm user at (if different) the premises wherein the alarm device was installed. Each thirty-day period following the imposition of a penalty that a violation remains uncorrected or that a penalty remains unpaid shall constitute a separate violation.
Hearings and appeals shall be governed by Section 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes, as may be amended from time to time.
The Alarm Administrator, Norwalk Police Department and Norwalk Fire Department shall, with respect to each false alarm, compile information concerning the alarm devices involved, contractors and addresses of false alarms and any other information that may be evaluated to determine relative reliability of different types of alarm devices, and particular contractors and the frequency of false alarms attributable to different categories, addresses and contractors.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, the City of Norwalk, 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 and responding facilities of the Norwalk Police and Fire Departments. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm devices or monitoring facilities or for the failure to respond to any alarms or for any other acts or omission in connection with such alarm devices. Each alarm user shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the City, of Norwalk, its departments, officers, agents and employees from any and all liabilities and responsibilities in connection any alarm device, including the use, installation and or operation of any alarm device, regardless of registration status.
Charges for contractor registration, charges for false alarms, appeal fees and penalties for violations and late charges shall be collected by the Alarm Administrator and placed in the general fund. The failure to pay any charge, suspension, violation or penalty within 30 days from date of imposition shall cause a late charge of $25 to be due and payable for each thirty-day period during which an outstanding balance is due.
The City of Norwalk, upon authorization of the Alarm Administrator, may institute civil proceedings to enforce the provisions of this article.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to alarm devices on premises owned or controlled by the City of Norwalk, including the Norwalk Board of Education, the State of Connecticut or the government of the United States nor to alarm devices installed in a licensed motor vehicle, trailer or boat.