[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Springfield by Ord. No. 95-4 (§ 4-18 of the 1994 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fees — See Ch. 91.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards and regulations for various types of intrusion, burglar, fire and other emergency alarm devices, whether by direct line, radio, telephone or other means, actuating a device at the Township police station and/or at the Burlington County Central Dispatch Center and requiring a response thereto by the Police Department, the Fire Department or other Township agency.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any location requiring a response to any type of alarm signal. The terms of this chapter shall in no way prohibit alarm companies from providing service by private source to other offices within or without the Township, so long as such activity is not connected to the alarm console and/or does not require a police response, except that any person having premises protected by an alarm device shall be responsible for the registration thereof, in accordance with the provisions herein provided.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM CONSOLE
- The console or control panel of devices giving a visual or audio response, or both, and located within the confines of the Township police headquarters, the Burlington County Central Dispatch Center and/or any other official location recognized by all parties herein.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm system actuating equipment in the alarm console or Police Department telephone system providing warning of intrusions, fire, smoke, flood or other peril.
- ALARM DIALER
- That type of automatic telephone dialing device using the telephone system to transmit an alarm to the Police Department.
- ALARM INSTALLATION
- Any alarm device or combination of devices installed for one or more buildings at a location other than the alarm console.
- ALARMS, HARD WIRE
- An alarm system that is wired directly to the alarm console which will be maintained at the Burlington County Central Dispatch Center or another location officially recognized by all parties herein.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The activity of maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing or causing to be maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed in or on any building, place or premises any device designed or used for the detection of unauthorized entry or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act, or both, and the detection of fire, smoke or any hazards affecting the safety of citizens and/or their property.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence or an unintentional or intentional act of someone other than an intruder. This shall include alarms caused by the malfunctioning of the alarm device or other relevant equipment, but shall not include alarms created by a malfunction of the alarm console.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm or device which, when actuated, produces a signal not connected to the alarm console, such as burglar alarms actuating bell or fire devices.
- Any person owning an alarm device or a local alarm within the scope of this chapter.
Any person that owns or operates an alarm device or a local alarm shall make application for the installation, operation and continuance thereof, in writing, to the Chief of Police of the form provided by the Police Department.
All registration information provided by an applicant shall be confidential and not disclosed to the public in order to ensure the protection of the public interest.
Permit for connection to police switchboard. No person shall use, cause or permit to be used any telephone device or telephone attachment that automatically selects a telephone trunk line of the Police Department or Central Communications and then reproduces any prerecorded message to report any robbery, burglary or other emergency or relays by human agency a like message without first having obtained a written permit from the Chief of Police. No person shall install, maintain, use or permit to be used any robbery, burglary or emergency alarm system which automatically or semiautomatically terminates in any private establishment or telephone answering service and which is relayed by the recipient of the alarm by a telephone call to the Police Department, without first having obtained a written permit from the Chief of Police.
Application; conditions for issuance of permit. Application forms and tie-in instructions shall be in a form prescribed by the Chief of Police and shall be available in the office of the Police Department. The application shall contain the following information:
The type of device.
The location of the device.
The names of the installers of the device.
A list of person to be contacted in the event of an alarm.
Provisions relating to false alarms and testing procedures.
Any other information which may be required by the Chief of Police.
Investigation. The Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and shall issue the permit if it is found that the system in the police switchboard or in the Police Department will not jam the switchboard, constitute a nuisance or otherwise interfere with or hinder the proper operation of the police work of the Township.
Term of permit; renewal. All permits issued under this chapter shall expire on December 31 of the year in which the permit is granted. Thereafter, the Chief of Police may issue a renewal permit, provided that on or before December 31 a request is made, in writing, for such renewal. There shall be a permit fee as set forth in Chapter 91, Fees, § 91-3A, of this Code.
Suspension or revocation of permit. Any permit issued under the provisions of this chapter may be suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police, upon 10 days' written notice by the Chief of Police to the permittee, under the following conditions:
The permittee, his/her agents or employees willfully failed or did not comply with a request by a member of the Police Department to proceed immediately to the location of the permittee’s alarm and render necessary service.
The permittee, his/her agents or employees knowingly installed or maintained a faulty alarm device. An inordinate number of false alarms shall be prima facie evidence that such alarm device is knowingly a faulty device.
The permittee has breached the terms and conditions of the permit, has failed to comply with departmental rules or the other provisions of this Code or the privilege so granted has been abused to the detriment of the public.
Appeals. Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police in denying a permit or in the suspension or revocation of any permit as provided for by this chapter may appeal to the Township Council by serving written notice of such appeal upon the Chief of Police and the Township Clerk.
In the event that any person has a dial alarm device in existence on June 14, 1995, (s)he shall have 30 days in which to register the device with the Chief of Police. Any person not so complying shall be liable to a penalty payable to the Township as provided for in § 39-11B.
Any unregistered console-wired alarm may be discontinued by the Chief of Police, or his/her designated representative, for noncompliance with this chapter. Any person installing or maintaining unauthorized equipment shall be prosecuted for violation of this chapter. Each and every day such equipment is in operation shall be considered a separate violation.
Upon discovery of the installation of an unregistered alarm device, the Chief of Police shall serve the owner with written notification requiring compliance with the provisions of this chapter. If the owner fails to do so within 30 says of receipt of such notice, (s)he shall then be subject to penalties as provided in § 39-11B.
Conditions of issuance. Upon application, permits shall be granted subject to the following terms and conditions:
When required, the applicant shall furnish complete information and specifications relating to the system to be provided. The information shall include specific data relating to the service of false alarms and testing procedures.
No person other than the applicant or his/her designated agents and employees shall exercise any privilege granted herein.
The applicant shall maintain his/her equipment in good condition and repair and maintain an adequate work force and equipment to repair, maintain and service such system.
No permit shall be transferred or assigned in any manner.
An excessive number of false alarms shall be penalized, as provided herein, and shall subject the subscriber to disconnection.
No subscriber shall fail or refuse to respond to a police summons to deactivate an alarm, whether or not the same is legitimately or falsely activated and regardless of the type of alarm.
A permittee, by acceptance of the permit, shall be deemed to have consented to the inspection of the premises on which the alarm devices are installed at reasonable hours by the Chief of Police, or his/her designated representative.
Fees and charges. For alarm devices, the registrant shall pay whatever charges are required by any alarm company making such installation, and false alarm charges. The Township shall not be responsible for any related fees charged the applicant for installation, maintenance or signal transmission.
Dial alarms shall only be coded to dial a special separate number to be obtained from the Chief of Police. No dial alarm shall be coded to dial the number of the general police switchboard.
The message shall conform to an approved format on the application.
The total length of a message shall not exceed 15 seconds.
A message may be received by police headquarters twice, but not more than three times.
All components of the equipment shall be maintained by the owner in good repair. When evidence exists that there has been failure to comply with the operational requirements of this chapter, the Chief of Police shall demand that such device be disconnected until such time as compliance with current requirements is reestablished.
All audible alarms shall be equipped with a time relay or battery to limit the sounding of an alarm to a maximum of 15 minutes or less.
Any permittee utilizing any alarm system shall provide for a repair service to be on-call at all times. Such service shall be provided within eight hours of notification to the permittee by the Police Department of any malfunction of any equipment.
In the case of a false alarm, any person having knowledge thereof shall immediately notify the Police Department in a manner to be prescribed by rules and regulations in accordance with § 39-9. In addition, in the case of false alarms, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such alarms on file and shall provide the Township Clerk with a copy of each such investigation.
Where the investigation of the Police Department discloses continued abuse of the privilege of connection to the alarm console and a disregard by the permittee for taking remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Chief of Police shall have the right to require disconnection from the telephone system or alarm console for a limited or permanent time, conditioned on 10 days’ written notice by the Chief of Police to the permittee, provided that no such permit shall be revoked or suspended without giving the permittee an opportunity to show cause before the Township Council as to why any such action should not be taken.
The Chief of Police shall have the right to refuse service on any and all habitual false alarm offenders and to disconnect any malfunctioning equipment from the alarm console until such time as the malfunction has been corrected, as well as to refuse response to such habitual false alarm offenders, and shall regularly report such actions to the Township Council, at least monthly.
From time to time the Chief of Police may promulgate written rules and regulations in order to provide for recordkeeping and efficient operation and management of the system.
Nonliability of Township for maintenance or operation of equipment. Notwithstanding the payment of any charge and/or the receiving or issuance of any permit as herein provided, the Police Department and the Township shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of the device or devices so installed, and the Township and its authorized agents hereby assume no liability whatsoever for any failure of any such equipment, failure to respond to any such alarms or for any act of omission or commission as a result of any such alarm, device or system.
Assumption of liability by permittee. The applicant or permittee, upon the acceptance of a permit, hereby agrees to hold and save harmless the Township, its agents and employees from any liability whatsoever in connection with any alarm system or the operation of the same.
Release and indemnification of Township. Any applicant who shall register an alarm device or a local alarm shall be deemed to have released the Township and any of its employees from any liability or damages arising from or on account of the use and maintenance of the alarm console and related activities, and the applicant shall indemnify and hold the Township harmless from and on account of any and all damages arising therefrom.
Penalties for false alarms. False alarms shall subject the owner to the following penalties:
For the first and second false alarm in any twelve-month period, a warning shall be issued.
For the third false alarm in any twelve-month period, a fine of $50 shall be paid to the Township.
For the fourth or any subsequent false alarms in any such twelve-month period, a fine of $100 shall be paid to the Township.
Maximum penalty. For violation of any other provisions of this chapter, the maximum penalty, upon conviction, shall be a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or such combination of punishments as the Municipal Judge, in his/her discretion, may deem appropriate and just.
Separate violations. Each and every day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.
Application. The maximum penalty stated in this subsection is not intended to state an appropriate penalty for each and every violation. Any lesser penalty, including a nominal penalty or no penalty at all, may be appropriate for a particular case or violation, except in those instances where state law mandates a minimum penalty to be imposed.
Minimum penalty. There shall be a minimum penalty of a fine fixed at an amount not exceeding $100.