[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Haverhill as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-19-1999 by Doc. 164 (Ch. 97 of the 1980 Code)]
For the purpose of this article, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivation shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular number and words in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any combination or assembly of electronic devices or a single device at a premise or location designed to transmit to the police, either directly or through an intermediary local alarm, a warning signaling a hazard or intrusion to which police are expected to respond. In this article, the term alarm system shall apply to all electronic security systems, services and alarms defined herein by which police are notified and expected to respond. Fire alarm systems and alarm devices which monitor smoke, temperature, humidity or any condition not related to the detection of any unauthorized intrusion into a premise/location or an attempted robbery at a premise/location are specifically excluded from the provision of this article.
- ALARM USER
- Any person on whose premises an alarm system is maintained within the City except for alarm systems on motor vehicles or proprietary systems. Excluded from this definition and from the overage of this article are central station personnel and 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" as that term is used in this article, and shall be subject to this article.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- Refers to an alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.
- CENTRAL STATION
- An office to which remote alarm and supervisory signaling devices are connected, where operators supervise circuits or where guards are maintained continuously to investigate signals.
- The City of Haverhill, Massachusetts.
- COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE
- The instrumentation of an alarm console at the receiving terminal of a signal line which, through both visual and audible signals, indicated activation of an alarm system at a particular location, or which indicates line trouble.
- DIRECT CONNECT
- An alarm system which has the capability of transmitting system signals to and receiving them at the Haverhill Police Department Communication Center.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, or negligence of the user of an alarm system or of his employees or agents; any signal or oral communications transmitted to the Police Department requesting or requiring or resulting in a response on the part of the Police Department when, in fact, there has been no unauthorized intrusion or attempted robbery or burglary at a premises. Excluded from this definition are activations of alarm systems caused by electrical storms, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other violent events of nature.
- To connect an alarm system to a voice-grade telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a standard telephone, for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit an emergency message upon the activation of the alarm system.
- POLICE CHIEF
- The Chief of Police of the City of Haverhill, Massachusetts, or his designated representative.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The City of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Police Department, or any authorized agent thereof.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Anything which annoys, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety or any persons or of any community or neighborhood.
Promulgation of rules. The Police Chief may promulgate such rules as may be necessary for the implementation of this article.
Automatic dialing devices; interconnection to Police Department. Effective August 1, 1998, no devices which employ an automatic dialing system preceded to connect with a telephone at the Police Department rather than to an alarm panel (also known as a dial alarm) shall be permitted.
Direct connections to Police Department.
Alarm systems may be connected to the communications console in the Police Department.
The alarm user, or the alarm business contracting for servicing the alarm user's alarm system, shall be responsible for obtaining the leased telephone line between the alarm user's premises and the alarm-receiving equipment at the Police Department and for furnishing the appropriate interface equipment, if required, in order to provide an input signal which is compatible with the receiving equipment used to operate the communications console.
No person shall install, operate or maintain any type of alarm system within the City of Haverhill, unless said alarm system has been registered with the Police Chief in accordance with the requirements of this section.
The owner of the premises in which an alarm system is to be installed, operated or maintained shall annually file a completed registration form, which shall include, among other information, the location of the local alarm, noisemaker or horn/bell, the name of the installer of said device, type of device; a description of intended testing procedures, at least two other persons to be contacted in the event of an alarm and other data, including the name, address and telephone number of any property insurer, as may be required by the Police Chief. Registration pursuant to this section may be accomplished by a lessee of the premises upon written submission of permission therefor by the owner of such premises.
All alarm systems which use an audible horn or bell shall be equipped with a device that will shut off such horn or bell within 15 minutes or less after activation of the alarm system.
Any alarm system emitting a continuous and uninterrupted signal for more than 15 minutes between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. which cannot be shut off or otherwise curtailed due to the absence or unavailability of the alarm user or those persons designated by him under Subsection B of this section, and which disturb the peace, comfort or repose, of a community, a neighborhood, or inhabitants of the area where the alarm system is located, shall constitute a public nuisance. Upon receiving complaints regarding such a continuous and uninterrupted signal, the Police Chief shall endeavor to contact the alarm user, or members of the alarm user's family, or those persons designated by the alarm user under Subsection B of this section in an effort to abate the nuisance. The Police Chief shall cause to be recorded the names and addresses of all complainants and the time each complaint was made.
In the event that the Police Chief is unable to contact the alarm user, or members of the alarm user's family, or those persons designated by the alarm user under Subsection A of this section, or if the aforesaid persons cannot or will not curtail the audible signal being emitted by the alarm system, and if the Police Chief is otherwise unable to abate the nuisance, he may direct a police officer or a fire fighter or a qualified alarm technician to enter upon the property, outside the home or building in which the alarm system is located and take any reasonable action necessary to abate the nuisance.
If entry upon property outside the home or building in which the alarm system is located is made in accordance with this section, the person so entering upon such property shall not conduct, engage in or undertake any search, seizure, inspection, or investigation while he is upon the property, shall not cause any unnecessary damage to the alarm system or to any part of the home or building, and shall leave the property immediately after the audible signal has ceased. After an entry upon property has been made in accordance with this section, the Police Chief shall have the property secured, if necessary. The reasonable costs and expenses of abating a nuisance in accordance with this section may be assessed to the alarm user, said assessment not to exceed $50.
Within 10 days after abatement of a nuisance in accordance with this section, the alarm user may request a hearing before the Chief of Police and may present evidence showing that the signal emitted by his alarm system was not a public nuisance at the time of the abatement; that unnecessary damage was caused to his property in the course of the abatement; that the cost of the abatement shall not be assessed to him; or that the requirements of this section were not fulfilled. The Chief shall hear all interested parties and may, in his discretion, reimburse the alarm user for the repairs to his property necessitated by the abatement, or excuse the alarm user from paying the costs of the abatement.
No alarm system, designed to transmit emergency messages directly to the Police Department, shall be worked on, tested or demonstrated, without obtaining permission from the Police Chief. Permission is not required to test or demonstrate alarm devices not transmitting emergency messages directly to the Police Department. An unauthorized test constitutes a false alarm.
When emergency messages are received by the Police Department that evidence false alarms, the Police Chief shall take such action as may be appropriate under Subsections B, C, D and E of this section, and, when so required by the terms of the aforementioned subsections, order that use of an alarm system be discontinued.
After the Police Department has recorded three separate false alarms within the calendar year from an alarm system, the Police Chief shall notify the alarm user by first-class, postage prepaid mail, of such fact and require the said user to submit within 15 days after receipt of such notice, a report describing efforts to discover and eliminate the cause or causes of the false alarms. If the said user, on the basis of absence from the City, or on any other reasonable basis, requests an extension of time for filing the report, the Police Chief may extend the fifteen-day period for a reasonable period. If the said user fails to submit such a report within 15 days or within any such extended period, the Police Chief shall order that use of the alarm system be discontinued. Any such discontinuance shall be effectuated within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Police Chief's order.
In the event that the Police Chief determines that a report submitted in accordance with the Subsection B of this section is unsatisfactory, or that the alarm user has failed to show by the report that he has taken or will take reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce false alarms, then the Police Chief shall order that use of the alarm system be discontinued. Any such discontinuance shall be effectuated within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Police Chief's order.
In the event that the Police Department records five false alarms within the calendar year from an alarm system, the Police Chief may order that the user of the alarm system discontinue use of the alarm system for not less than six months from the date of the alarm was disconnected.
Any user of an alarm system which transmits false alarms shall be assessed a fine of $25 for each false alarm in excess of three occurring within the calendar year. All fines assessed hereunder shall be paid to the City Treasurer for deposit in the general fund. Upon failure of the user of an alarm system to pay two consecutive fines assessed hereunder within 60 days of assessment, the Police Chief shall order that the user discontinue use of the alarm system. Any such discontinuance shall be effectuated within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Police Chiefs order.
Any user of an alarm system who has, in accordance with this section, been ordered by the Police Chief to discontinue use of an alarm system may appeal the order of discontinuance to the district court. An appeal shall be filed within 10 days of the date of the order of discontinuance. Thereafter, the court shall consider the merits of the appeal and in connection therewith shall hear evidence presented by all interested persons. After hearing such evidence the court may affirm, vacate, or modify the order of discontinuance.
The following acts and omissions shall constitute violations of this article punishable by fines of up to $50.
Failure to obey an order of the Police Chief or his designee, to discontinue use of an alarm system, after exhaustion of the right of appeal.
Failure to disconnect an automatic dialing device from any telephone numbers at the Police Department within six months after effective date of this article.
Interconnection of an automatic dialing device to any telephone numbers at the Police Department after effective date of this article.
Failure to pay two or more consecutive fines assessed under this article within 60 days from the date of assessment.
Each day during which the aforesaid violations continue shall constitute a separate offense.