[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Maple Shade 7-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fees — Ch. 88.
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users and alarm companies to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of alarm systems and reduce or eliminate false alarms.
This chapter governs alarm systems intended to summon law enforcement response, and requires registration, establishes fees, provides for penalties for violations and establishes a system of administration.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR
- The person designated by the Maple Shade Police Department to administer control and review false alarm reduction efforts, provide public reports regarding alarm response statistics and administer the provisions of this chapter.
- ALARM INSTALLATION COMPANY
- A person in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing an alarm system in an alarm site.
- ALARM NOTIFICATION
- A timely verbal report to the Maple Shade Police that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.
- ALARM REGISTRATION
- Authorization in accordance with this chapter granted by the alarm administrator to an alarm user to operate and maintain an alarm system.
- ALARM SITE
- A single fixed premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each unit, if served by a separate alarm system in a multiunit building or complex, shall be considered a separate alarm site.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or series of devices, including, but not limited to, hardwired systems and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, which emit or transmit a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition and intended to summon law enforcement or fire response, including local alarm systems. The term "alarm system" does not include an alarm installed in a vehicle or on someone's person unless the vehicle or the personal alarm is permanently located at a site.
- ALARM USER
- Any person who has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service from an alarm installation company or monitoring company for an alarm system, or who owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under contract.
- ARMING STATION
- A manually operated device that allows control of an alarm system.
- AUTOMATIC VOICE DIALER
- Any electrical, electronic, mechanical or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message, when activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system, to law enforcement, public safety or an emergency services agency requesting dispatch.
- Notification given to the Maple Shade Police Department by a monitoring company (designated by the alarm user) subsequent to an alarm notification for the alarm site that there is no emergency at the alarm site requiring a law enforcement officer's or firefighter's response.
- The transaction or process by which one alarm installation company or monitoring company begins the servicing and/or monitoring of a previously unmonitored alarm system or an alarm system previously serviced and/or maintained by another alarm company.
- DURESS ALARM
- A silent alarm system signal generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the alarm user is being forced to turn off the system, the safety of the alarm user is threatened and protection of a sworn officer or firefighter is required.
- FALSE ALARM
- An alarm dispatch request forwarded to the Maple Shade Police Department for response, when the responding officer finds no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site and there is no indication that an abnormal weather condition or other severe event could have caused the generation of an alarm.
- HOLDUP ALARM
- A silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.
- A license issued by the State of New Jersey to an alarm installation company or monitoring company to sell, install, monitor, repair or replace alarm systems.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- Any alarm system which is not monitored and which annunciates an alarm condition only at or near the alarm site.
- The process by which a monitoring company receives alarm signals and other alarm system condition signals from alarm systems and relays alarm notifications to the Maple Shade Police Department and to other emergency response agencies.
- MONITORING COMPANY
- A person in the business of providing monitoring services.
- ONE-PLUS DURESS ALARM
- The manual activation of a silent alarm by entering at an arming station a code that adds one to the last digit of the normal arm/disarm code (e.g., normal code = 1234: one-plus duress code = 1235).
- PANIC ALARM
- An audible alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of the device intended to signal a personal safety or other emergency situation requiring the response of a law enforcement officer.
- An individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.
- An individual capable of reaching the alarm site within 30 minutes and having access to the alarm site, the operating codes for the alarm system and the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.
- 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 the incidence of false alarms. Control panels built and tested to this standard by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or other nationally recognized testing organizations, will be marked to state: "Design evaluated in accordance with SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard Features for false alarm Reduction."
- SUSPENSION OF RESPONSE
- The termination of police response to alarms at a specified alarm site as a result of false alarms or other violations of this chapter.
- The transaction or process by which an alarm user assumes or acquires ownership of an existing alarm system which was previously owned by another alarm user.
- An attempt by a monitoring company, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request. For the purpose of this chapter, telephone verification shall require as 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 before requesting official dispatch.
- A division of devices into which an alarm system is divided to indicate the general location from which an alarm system signal is transmitted.
No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid alarm registration. A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site.
Existing alarm systems. Any alarm system that has been installed before the effective date of this chapter shall be registered by the alarm user within 60 days of such effective date if not previously registered. Failure to register an existing alarm system shall result in a fine of $25 to the alarm user.
New alarm systems. Any person who installs an alarm system on premises located within the Township shall, within 10 days from the date of installation, notify the alarm administrator, using a form provided by the alarm administrator, that an alarm system has been installed and send to the alarm administrator the name and address of the alarm user. Failure of an alarm user to notify the alarm administrator of a new alarm system installation within 10 days after installation shall result in a fine of $25 to the alarm user. Information provided in accordance with this requirement shall be treated as private and proprietary information and not made available to any person outside of the Maple Shade Police Department or its bonded administration contractor.
Upon receipt of a completed alarm registration application form and the alarm registration fee, the alarm administrator shall register the applicant by entering the required data into the Police Department's alarm administration system database.
Each alarm registration application must include the following information:
The name, complete address (including apartment/suite number) and telephone numbers of the person who will be the registration holder and be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the alarm system and payment of fees assessed under this chapter;
The classification of the alarm site as either residential (including apartment, condominium, mobile home, etc.) or commercial;
For each alarm system located at the alarm site, the classification of the alarm system (i.e., burglary, holdup, duress, panic alarm or other) and for each classification whether such alarm is audible or silent;
Mailing address, if different from the address of the alarm site;
Any dangerous or special conditions present at the alarm site such as dogs or other animals;
Names and telephone numbers of at least three individuals who are able and have agreed to receive notification of an alarm system activation at any time; respond to the alarm site within 30 minutes at any time; and upon request can grant access to the alarm site and deactivate the alarm system if necessary;
Type of business conducted at a commercial alarm site;
Signed certification from the alarm user stating the following:
The date of installation, conversion or takeover of the alarm system, whichever is applicable;
The name, address and telephone number of the alarm installation company or companies performing the alarm system installation, conversion or takeover and of the alarm installation company responsible for providing repair service to the alarm system;
The name, address and telephone number of the monitoring company if different from the alarm installation company;
That a set of written operating instructions for the alarm system, including written guidelines on how to avoid false alarms, has been delivered to the applicant by the alarm installation company; and
That the alarm installation company has trained the applicant in the proper use of the alarm system, including instructions on how to avoid false alarms;
An acknowledgement that the Police Department response may be influenced by factors, including, but not limited to, the availability of officers, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels, etc.
Any false statement of a material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm registration shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a registration.
An alarm registration cannot be transferred to another person or alarm site. An alarm user shall inform the alarm administrator of any change that alters any of the information listed on the alarm registration application within five business days of such change.
All fines and fees owed by an applicant must be paid before an alarm registration may be issued or renewed.
Government entities, including but not limited to the Township and Board of Education must obtain permits for all alarm systems under their control but are exempt from the payment of other fees and fines. Government entities are subject to all other requirements of this chapter.
An alarm registration shall expire at the end of the calendar year and must be renewed annually by submitting an updated application and a registration renewal fee to the alarm administrator. It is the responsibility of the alarm user to submit a registration form before the expiration date. Failure to renew will be classified as use of a nonregistered alarm system, and penalties may be assessed in accordance with this chapter. A late fee of $25 may be assessed if the renewal is more than 30 days late.
An alarm user shall:
Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms;
Make every reasonable effort to have a responder arrive at the alarm system's location within 30 minutes after being requested by the law enforcement agency to attend to:
Not activate an emergency alarm condition for any reason other than an occurrence of an emergency event that the alarm system was intended to report.
An alarm user shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so that an alarm signal audible on the exterior of the alarm site will sound for no longer than 10 minutes after being activated.
An alarm user shall have an alarm installation company inspect the alarm system after two false alarms in a one-year period. The alarm administrator may waive a required inspection if it determines that a false alarm could not have been related to a defect or malfunction in the alarm system. After four false alarms within a one-year period, the alarm user must have an alarm installation company modify the alarm system to be more false-alarm-resistant or provide additional user training as appropriate. The alarm user shall submit a written statement from the alarm installation company stating that the system has been inspected and repaired (if necessary). Failure to comply may result in suspension of the alarm user's registration.
An alarm user shall not use automatic voice dialers.
An alarm user shall maintain at each alarm site a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system.
All alarm users shall agree with their alarm installation company and/or monitoring company to an acclimation period for the first seven days after installation of an alarm system during which time the alarm installation company and/or monitoring company will have no obligation to and will not respond to any alarm signal from the alarm site and will not make an alarm dispatch request to law enforcement personnel, even if the alarm signal is the result of an actual alarm event.
Conversion or termination of alarm users. An alarm user shall notify the Alarm Administrator when moving its alarm system account from another company or terminating an account within 30 days of such conversion or termination.
An alarm installation company shall provide written and oral instructions to each of its alarm users in the proper use and operation of its alarm systems. Such instructions will specifically include all instructions necessary to turn the alarm system on and off and to avoid false alarms.
Upon the effective date of this chapter, alarm installation companies shall not program alarm systems so that they are capable of sending one-plus duress alarms. Monitoring companies may continue to report one-plus duress alarms received from alarm systems programmed with one-plus duress alarms prior to enactment of this chapter. However, upon the effective date of this chapter, when a takeover or conversion occurs or if an alarm user requests an alarm system inspection or modification pursuant to, § 54-4C of this chapter, an alarm installation company must remove the one-plus duress alarm capability from such alarm systems.
Alarm installation companies shall not install single-action devices for the activation of holdup, robbery or panic alarms.
Effective 90 days after enactment of this chapter, alarm installation companies shall, on new installations, use only alarm control panels which meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01 Features for False Alarm Reduction.
An alarm company shall not use automatic voice dialers.
Upon completion of the installation of an alarm system, an alarm installation company employee shall review with the alarm user its false alarm checklist or equivalent.
A monitoring company shall:
Report alarm signals by using telephone numbers designated by the alarm administrator;
Verify every alarm signal, except duress or holdup alarm activation before providing an alarm notification to an alarm system signal;
Communicate alarm notifications to the Police Department in the manner and form determined by the alarm administrator;
Communicate cancellations to the Police Department in the manner and form determined by the alarm administrator;
Ensure that all alarm users of alarm systems equipped with a duress, holdup or panic alarm are given adequate training as to the proper use of such alarms;
Communicate any available information about the location of all alarm signals related to the alarm dispatch request (north, south, front, back, floor, etc.);
Communicate the type of alarm activation (silent or audible, interior or perimeter);
Provide an alarm user permit number when providing an alarm notification;
After an alarm notification, promptly advise the Police Department if the monitoring company knows that the alarm user or the responder is en route to the alarm site;
Attempt to contact the alarm user or responder within 30 minutes via fax, telephone or other electronic means when an alarm dispatch request is made;
Not provide an alarm notification to a burglar alarm signal, excluding panic, duress and holdup signals, during the first seven days following installation or activation of an alarm system. The alarm administrator may grant an Alarm User's request for an exemption from this waiting period based upon a determination that special circumstances substantiate the need for exemption, including but not limited to domestic violence.
Maintain for a period of at least one year from the date of the alarm dispatch request records relating to alarm notifications. Records must include the name, address and telephone number of the alarm user, the alarm system zone(s) activated, the time of alarm dispatch request and evidence of an attempt to verify. The alarm administrator may request copies of such records for individually named alarm users. If the request is made within 60 days of an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish requested records within 10 business days of receiving the request. If the records are requested between 60 days to one year after an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish the requested records within 30 days of receiving the request.
Every alarm installation company and every monitoring company serving customers in Maple Shade Township shall maintain any and all licenses required by the State of New Jersey.
The alarm administrator shall establish a procedure to record such information on alarm notifications necessary to permit the alarm administrator to maintain records, including but not limited to, the information listed below:
Identification of the permit number for the alarm site;
Identification of the alarm site;
Date and time alarm notification was received, including the name of the monitoring company and the monitoring operator name and/or number;
Date and time of police officer arrival at the alarm site;
Alarm zone and zone description, if available;
Name of alarm user's representative at the alarm site, if any;
Identification of the responsible alarm installation company or monitoring company; and
Cause of alarm signal, if known.
The alarm administrator shall establish a procedure for notification to the alarm user of a false alarm which notice shall include the following information:
The alarm administrator may require a conference with an alarm user and the alarm installation company and/or monitoring company responsible for the repair or monitoring of the alarm system to review the circumstances of each false alarm.
The alarm administrator may require an alarm user to remove a holdup alarm that is a single-action, nonrecessed button if a false holdup alarm has occurred.
The alarm administrator may require an alarm user to remove the duress or panic alarm capability after the occurrence of a false alarm.
The alarm administrator will make a copy of this chapter and/or a chapter summary sheet available to the alarm user by directing the alarm user to the appropriate Municipal Code section on the Township website.
An alarm user shall be assessed a service fee for false alarms within a monthly period according to the following schedule:
Any person operating a nonregistered alarm system will be subject to a service fee of $50 for each false alarm in addition to the above fees. The alarm administrator may waive this additional fee for a nonregistered system if the alarm user submits an application for alarm registration within 10 days after notification of such violation.
The alarm user shall be assessed a fee of $50 if neither the alarm user nor a responder fails to arrive at the alarm site within 30 minutes of an alarm or if the alarm user fails to provide access when requested to do so.
The alarm installation company shall be assessed a fee of $50 if the officer responding to the false alarm determines that an on-site employee of the alarm installation company directly caused the false alarm, and the false alarm will not be assessed against the alarm user.
The monitoring company shall be assessed a fee of $50 for each failure to verify alarm system signals as specified in § 54-5G(2) above.
The alarm installation company shall be assessed a fee of $200 if the alarm administrator determines that an alarm installation company employee knowingly made a false statement concerning the inspection of an alarm site or the performance of an alarm system.
If any fee assessed in this section is not paid within 30 days after a notice or invoice is mailed, a late fee in the amount of $25 shall be imposed.
The alarm administrator shall notify the Chief of Police of each alarm user whose registration qualifies for suspension under this section. The alarm administrator may suspend an alarm registration if it is determined that:
There is a violation of this section by the alarm user;
There is a false statement of a material fact in the registration application;
The alarm user has failed or refused to pay an alarm registration fee, renewal fee, false alarm service fee, any late fee or any other assessed fee under this section more than 30 days after the fee is due. This applies to all classification of alarms;
The alarm user has had five or more false alarms within a one-month period, except that the alarm administrator may waive a suspension of a registration upon receipt of documented work orders showing reasonable attempts to repair the alarm system.
The police shall not respond to any alarm where the alarm site is under suspension.
It is a violation of this section for a person to operate an alarm system during the period in which the alarm registration is suspended. It is a violation of this section for a monitoring company to make an alarm dispatch request to an alarm site after the alarm administrator has notified the monitoring company's response manager that the permit for that alarm site has been suspended. The monitoring company shall be given a three-day notice prior to this action. The monitoring company shall be assessed a service fee of $50 for each such dispatch to an alarm site. If the fee is not paid within 30 days after the invoice is mailed, a late fee in the amount of $25 will be assessed.
Unless there is a separate indication that there is a crime in progress, Burlington County Central Communications shall not dispatch an officer to an alarm site for which an alarm registration is suspended.
On the first suspension of a registration, a person whose alarm registration has been suspended may obtain reinstatement of the registration by the alarm administrator if the person:
On the second and every subsequent suspension of a registration, reinstatement may be obtained by compliance with Subsection A(1) above and compliance with any of the following conditions that the alarm administrator may require:
Upgrade the alarm control panel to meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.
A written statement from an independent inspector designated by the Chief of Police or his designee that the alarm system has been inspected and is in good working order.
Confirmation that all motion detectors are dual-technology type.
Confirmation that the alarm system requires two independent zones to trigger before transmitting an alarm signal to the monitoring company.
Written notice that the monitoring company will not make an alarm dispatch request unless the need for an officer is confirmed by a camera device. This condition does not apply to residential properties.
Written notice that the monitoring company will not make an alarm dispatch request unless the need for an officer is confirmed by a person at the alarm site.
The Police Department shall reinstate its response to an alarm site as soon as practicable after receiving notice of reinstatement from the alarm administrator. The alarm user and monitoring company shall take notice that the alarm site has been officially reinstated only after receiving notice from the alarm administrator of that fact.
The alarm administrator shall notify the alarm user in writing after each false alarm. The notification shall include the amount of the fee for the false alarm and a description of the appeals procedure available to the alarm user.
If a fee or fine is assessed, the alarm administrator shall send a written notice of the action and a statement of the right to appeal to the appropriate affected applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company.
The alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company may appeal the assessment of a service fee or fine, the suspension of an alarm registration, denial of alarm registration, suspension of response to the alarm administrator by setting forth in writing the reasons for the appeal within 15 business days after notification of the fee.
The alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company may appeal the decision of the alarm administrator to the Chief of Police or his designee as follows:
The applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company shall file a written request for review setting forth the reasons for the appeal. The request must be made within 20 business days after notification of the decision from the alarm administrator.
The Chief or his designee shall conduct a hearing within 30 days of receipt of the request. The Chief or his designee shall render a decision based on the preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing. The Chief or his designee shall render a decision affirming or reversing the decision of the alarm administrator within 15 days after the hearing is concluded.
Filing of an appeal shall stay the action by the alarm administrator requiring payment of a fine or fee, the suspension or denial of an alarm registration or suspension of police response until the Chief or his designee has completed his review. If an appeal is not filed within the twenty-business-day period, the action of the alarm administrator shall be final.
Adjustment of number of false alarms.
The alarm administrator or Chief may adjust the number of false alarms assessed based on:
Evidence that a false alarm was caused by an act of God;
Evidence that a false alarm was caused by action of a communications service provider (i.e., telephone, cellular, cable company);
Evidence that a false alarm was caused by a power outage lasting longer than four hours;
Evidence that the alarm dispatch request was not a false alarm;
Evidence of documented work orders showing reasonable attempts to repair the alarm system prior to additional false alarms;
Any other circumstances that demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that it was not a false alarm.
In determining the number of false alarms, multiple alarms occurring in any twenty-four-hour period may be counted as one false alarm to allow the alarm user time to take corrective action unless the false alarms are directly caused by the alarm user.
With respect to fees or fines assessed to an alarm installation company or monitoring company, the alarm administrator or Chief may take into consideration whether the company has engaged in a consistent pattern of violations.
In the interest of public safety, all information contained in and gathered through the alarm registration applications and applications for appeals shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the Township and by any third-party administrator or employees of a third-party administrator with access to such information.
Alarm registration is not intended, nor shall it be construed, to create any contract, duty or obligation on the part of the Township of Maple Shade, either expressed or implied, to respond to any alarm. The Township shall not be liable for any losses or damages, including consequential damages, resulting from the Township's failure to respond to a notification, and the Township expressly retains all governmental immunities provided by law. By applying for an alarm registration, an alarm user acknowledges that the Township's ability to respond to an alarm may be influenced by various factors such as the availability of officers or firefighters, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels and prior response history.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If a court determines that any word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, section or other provision of this chapter is invalid, the remaining provisions of this chapter and the application of those provisions to other persons or circumstances are not affected by that decision.