[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Morris 10-18-1995 by Ord. No. 41-95; amended in its entirety 2-16-2000 by Ord. No. 1-00 (Ch. 24 of the 1969 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Committee does hereby find and declare that:
The occupants of numerous residential, commercial and industrial establishments in the Township of Morris have found it desirable to make provision for the installation upon their premises at their own cost and expense of alarm systems for emergencies such as burglaries, fire and like alarms.
There is a growing number of alarm companies that sell or lease such alarm systems entering into contracts with such occupants for the installation, operation and maintenance of such alarm systems and providing for the connection of the individual alarm system so installed by them to a central location.
The number of private enterprises engaged in the alarm business, each with its own system and equipment, has resulted in conditions that, if not remedied, will lead to an unnecessary drain on the manpower, time, space, facilities and finances of the Township of Morris and its public safety departments and the deterioration of the quality of service to persons subscribing to the alarm services and inequities among the alarm businesses in the Township of Morris.
The public interest, therefore, requires the enactment of rules, regulations, standards and procedures to regulate and control the alarm business in the Township of Morris.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards and regulations for various types of burglar, fire and other emergency alarm devices requiring a response thereto by the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal agency.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person, other than the municipality, who operates, maintains or owns any alarm system designed to summon the Police or Fire Department or other municipal agency to any location in response to any type of alarm signal. The terms of this chapter shall in no way prohibit alarm companies from providing services by private source to others. Any person having a premises protected by an alarm system shall be responsible for the registration thereof in accordance with § 162-6.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Each individual component will be considered an alarm system. Therefore, residents and companies possessing several components to include burglar, fire or other perils shall have each component considered as a separate system. The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarm systems shall be considered as a separate system.
- CENTRAL STATION ALARM
- An alarm system which, when activated by an alarm device, transmits a signal from the alarm-actuating equipment to a central location, other than the Police Department, where appropriate action is taken to notify the Police or Fire Department to investigate and respond to the signal.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system which summons the Police or Fire Department to respond caused by malfunction or causes other than those to which the alarm was designed or intended to respond, but it shall not include activation by friendly smoke, such as from burned toast, oven, etc.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm or device which, when activated, produces an audible or visible signal, such as a store or home alarm actuating bell devices, etc., and is not connected to a monitoring system. This alarm is sometimes referred to as a "stand-alone system."
- Any person, owning or leasing an alarm device, holding a permit to operate an alarm system within the scope of this chapter.
- Includes any natural person, partnership, corporation or association or any other legal entity.
[Amended 12-16-2015 by Ord. No. 28-15]
In the case of false alarms which summon the Police or Fire Department to investigate, the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such false alarms on file. The following penalties shall be imposed for the transmission of false alarms during any consecutive twelve month period.
False burglar alarms: Police Department.
A written warning, advising the person/business of the fine implication if not corrected, shall be issued on the first and second false alarms received by the Police Department. Upon reception of the third and subsequent alarms, a fine of $50 shall be paid to the Township of Morris within 30 days of receipt of notification of false alarm.
False fire alarms: Fire Department.
A written warning, advising the person/business of the fine implication if not corrected, shall be issued after the second false alarm received by the Fire Department. Upon reception of subsequent false alarms, fines shall be as follows:
Third false alarm: $100.
Fourth false alarm: $150.
Fifth false alarm: $200.
Sixth false alarm: $300.
Seventh false alarm: $400.
Eighth and all subsequent false alarms: a fine of $500 shall be paid to the Township of Morris within 30 days of receipt of notification of false alarm..
The Township Police and/or Fire Departments shall be held harmless due to a delayed response when conditions are present that delay a normal response.
Multiple false alarms within any given twelve-hour period shall be considered as one alarm. In the event that three false alarms are given within any twelve-hour period, the Police Chief or Fire Chief or their designees shall have the right to order the alarm system to be deactivated; in the event the said system is not deactivated after the aforesaid order, each false alarm thereafter will be treated as a separate false alarm for the purposes of this section. The Chief of the Police and/or the Chief of the Fire Department or their designees shall have the authority to issue an order for a nonresponse to future alarm activations after a response to three or more false alarm activations within a twelve-hour period and the Township shall be held harmless due to excessive false alarms.
If an investigation by the Police Department and/or Fire Department and their designees discloses i) a failure to comply with the terms and conditions of this chapter, or ii) a failure to comply with a request to repair or replace a faulty alarm device or alarm system, the Police Chief or Fire Chief shall have the right to require disconnection of such alarm device or alarm system until the terms and conditions of this chapter are complied with, or the alarm device or alarm system is repaired. In such event, the Police Chief or Fire Chief shall notify the registrant of the suspension in writing stating the reason for the suspension. The notice shall include the date on which the suspension shall take place, and will include a statement that the registrant may file a written appeal to the Township Committee within 10 days from the date of such notice. (See § 162-7, Appeals.). A suspension shall be terminated and registration reinstated when the conditions stated in the notice of suspension have been corrected to the satisfaction of the Police Chief of Fire Chief, as applicable.
The failure to disconnect such alarm device or alarm system within 36 hours after a request to disconnect said alarm device or alarm system and keep such alarm device or alarm system disconnected until the terms and conditions of this chapter are complied with, or until such alarm device or alarm system is repaired or replaced shall be a violation of this chapter, and each and every day the equipment is in operation shall be considered a separate offense subject to the penalty provisions as set forth in § 1-3 of the Revised General Ordinances of the Township of Morris. By registering an alarm device or alarm system, a person or business shall be deemed to have consented to inspection of the premises on which such alarm devices or alarm systems are installed at a reasonable hour by the Police and/or Fire Chief or their designated representative.
No person shall install, operate or maintain any alarm system unless the alarm system has been registered with the Police Department as follows:
The alarm systems of each permittee shall be deemed registered at such time as the permit is therefor issued.
The alarm system of each permittee shall be deemed registered upon the payment of a one-time alarm registration fee of $35. Said registration fee shall include all alarm systems and shall be payable within 30 days of the installation of the alarm system. Once the alarm system or systems have been registered and the initial fee paid, there shall be no subsequent registration fees payable. The alarm system or systems shall, however, meet the following requirements:
[Amended 4-5-2000 by Ord. No. 9-00]
The system has been approved by the Police Chief or Fire Chief.
The permittee of the building in which an alarm system is installed shall have filed with the Police Chief a registration form which shall include, among other data, the location of the device, the name of the installer of said device, the type of device, provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures, a list of persons to contact in the event of an alarm and other information as may be required by the Police Chief or Fire Chief.
Alarm systems strictly related to alerting a medical emergency shall be registered, but no fee shall be charged therefor.
Any residential, commercial or industrial establishment which fails to register shall be considered in violation of this chapter and may be charged as such.
Owners of alarm systems shall be governed by false alarm procedure and penalties set forth in this chapter.
All alarm systems shall be equipped with a time relay or battery to limit the sounding of alarms to 15 minutes or less.
Owners of all alarms, upon registration, shall be deemed as having consented to inspection of the alarm device in cases of repeated malfunction, upon request and at reasonable hours by the Police Chief and/or Fire Chief and their designated representatives.
The sensory mechanisms of dial alarms shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and are not to be activated by impulses due to pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind, noises, rattling or vibration of doors or windows or other forces unrelated to general alarms.
If any registered user fails or refuses to pay the false alarm fine and said fine shall remain unpaid for 30 days from the date notice was given to the user, the user shall be considered in violation of this chapter and may be charged as such.
[Amended 6-17-2015 by Ord. No. 20-15]
Periodic inspection and maintenance shall be performed as required, and lack of such shall be considered a false alarm.
[Added 6-17-2015 by Ord. No. 20-15]
Whenever, under the provisions of this chapter, the Police Chief or Fire Chief or any authorized representatives they may have designated are empowered to make a decision with respect to the installation, operation and maintenance of any alarm equipment or with respect to the issuance or denial of any application relating thereto, any person aggrieved by said decision may, within 10 days following said decision, file a written appeal therefrom with the Township Clerk, whereupon the Township Committee shall promptly conduct a hearing and affirm, modify or reverse the decision appealed from.
The Township Committee may from time to time promulgate rules and regulations supplementing this chapter in order to provide for recordkeeping and efficient management of said systems.
[Amended 6-17-2015 by Ord. No. 20-15]
Any person, firm or corporation found guilty in the Municipal Court of the Township of Morris for violation of the terms of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in § 1-3, General penalty, of this Code.