[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Meriden 3-15-2015. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide uniform minimum standards and regulations applicable to the users of an alarm or emergency signaling device within the City of Meriden which results in the dispatch and/or response of municipal emergency vehicles, including police and/or personnel and to promote the responsible use of alarm systems in the City of Meriden.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- ALARM COMPANY
- A person or a company engaged in the selling, leasing, installing, servicing or monitoring alarm systems. The alarm company shall be licensed in compliance with Connecticut law.
- ALARM PERMIT
- A permit issued by the City allowing the operation of an alarm system within the City at commercial and residential properties.
- ALARM SIGNAL
- An audible or visual signal generated by an alarm system to which law enforcement 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 law enforcement response. For purposes of this chapter, an alarm system does not include motor vehicle or boat alarms, fire alarms, domestic violence alarms, or alarms solely requesting a medical response.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, governmental or educational 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 whereby the alarm company notifies the City that there is no need for a police response after an alarm signal is activated. If a cancellation occurs prior to police arriving at the scene of the alarm signal, it is not considered a false alarm.
- The City of Meriden, the City of Meriden Police Department or its authorized agent.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation, or the negligence of the alarm user, its employees or agents, as well as alarm signals activated to summon law enforcement personnel, unless law enforcement response was cancelled by the alarm user before law enforcement personnel arrive at the alarm location. An alarm is a false alarm when, upon inspection by the Meriden 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.
- 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 an alarm 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 Meriden Police Department may, in its sole 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."
- An attempt by the monitoring company or its representative to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user, whether or not actual contact is made, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting police response to the alarm signal. For the purpose of this chapter, telephone verification shall require, at a minimum, that a second call be made to a different number if the first call fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify themselves to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch.
Permit required. No person shall use an alarm system, including a local alarm, without first obtaining a permit for the alarm system from the City. For purposes of this chapter, an alarm system does not include: motor vehicle or boat alarms; fire alarms; domestic violence alarms; or alarms solely requesting a medical response. Each alarm permit shall be assigned a permit number and the alarm user shall provide the permit number to the alarm company. Alarm permits are not transferable.
Application. An alarm user has the duty to obtain an application from the City. A failure to obtain a permit for an alarm system is a violation of this chapter.
Transfer of possession. When the possession of the premises is transferred, the alarm 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. Renewal of alarm permit. Whenever the information provided on the alarm permit application changes, the alarm user shall provide the updated information to the City within 30 days. The alarm user shall apply for a permit renewal every 12 months. A failure to comply with the provisions of this section is a violation of this chapter.
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.
Change in address or ownership. An alarm uses must obtain a new permit if there is a change in address or ownership of a business or residence.
The alarm user shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
Maintain the premises and the alarm system to reduce or eliminate false alarms.
Ensure the alarm system has an auxiliary power supply with a minimum of a four hour power reserve.
Provide the alarm company with the permit number of the alarm.
Respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm system's location and/or to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm within 30 minutes after notification by the Police Department of a malfunctioning alarm.
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 the alarm system provider.
The alarm company shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
Obtain and maintain any required Connecticut State license(s).
Provide the name, address, and telephone number of the alarm user or designee who can be called in an emergency or to effect repairs 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Provide the most current contact information for the alarm user.
Ninety days after enactment of this chapter, the alarm installation companies shall on all new installations use alarm control panel(s) which meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.
Prior to activation of an alarm system, the alarm company shall provide instructions explaining the proper operation of the alarm system to the alarm user.
Provide written information to the alarm user regarding how to obtain service from the alarm company for the alarm system.
An alarm company performing monitoring services shall:
Attempt to verify whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting dispatch. Telephone verification shall require, at 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 themselves to determine whether an alarm signal is valid. An exception to this requirement is in the case an emergency, such as 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 the alarm permit number to the City to facilitate dispatch and/or cancellations.
Communicate any available information about the alarm to the City upon its activation.
Communicate a cancellation to the City as soon as possible following a determination that response is unnecessary.
It is prohibited to activate an alarm system for the purpose of summoning law enforcement when no burglary, robbery, or other crime dangerous to life or property is being committed or attempted on the premises, or otherwise to cause a false alarm.
It is prohibited to install, maintain, or use an audible alarm system which can sound continually for more than 10 minutes.
Excessive false alarms/failure to register. It is hereby found and determined that more than four false alarms within a year is excessive, constitutes a public nuisance, is a drain on police resources and is hereby prohibited. Penalties for excessive false alarms within a rolling twelve-month period shall be assessed by Meriden Police Department against an alarm user as follows:
Cancellation. If cancellation occurs prior to law enforcement arriving at the scene, it is not considered a false alarm and no penalty will be assessed.
Multiple activations. Multiple activations of the alarm within a twenty-four-hour period may, at the discretion of the City, be considered as one false alarm.
Other fees. Any other violations of this chapter will be enforced through a citation issued by the Meriden Police Department in the amount of $100 per violation.
Payment of fees. Fees shall be paid within 30 days from the date of the invoice. For failure to pay within 30 days of the invoice, there would be an additional fee of $25 added for residential and an additional $100 added for commercial.
Discontinuance of law enforcement response. The failure to register and obtain a permit, the failure to provide the City with updated information, and/or the failure to renew the alarm permit annually may result in no law enforcement response to an unregistered alarm. The Meriden Police Department may, in its sole discretion, discontinue law enforcement response to an alarm signal from what appears to be a runaway alarm.
The City may create and implement an alarm user awareness class and may request the assistance of the 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 City, at its discretion, may allow the option of attending an alarm user awareness class in lieu of paying one penalty.
Assessments of a penalty or penalties and other enforcement decisions made under this chapter may be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal with the Meriden 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 or other enforcement decision. Appeals shall be heard through the citation hearing process established by the City under the authority of Section 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes.
By applying for an alarm permit, the alarm user acknowledges that the Meriden 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, prior response history and other factors at the sole discretion of the Meriden Police Department.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, section, or other provision is invalid or that the application of any part of the chapter is invalid, the remaining provisions of this chapter and the application of those provisions of this chapter are not affected by that decision.