[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Waterford 9-10-1997 by Ord. No. 97-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device, alarm system, dial alarm or local alarm designed to produce a visual or audible signal of an emergency or otherwise designed to call and/or summon the Waterford Township Police Department, the Waterford Township Fire Department or any other municipal agency to any location in response to any type of alarm signal.
As used in this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and derivations shall have the following meanings:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any mechanical, electrical or electronic device which is designed or used for the detection of an unauthorized entry into a building, structure or facility or for alerting others about the commission of an unlawful act within a building structure or facility or for alerting others about the existence of any other condition requiring response of police, fire or ambulance personnel and which emits and/or transmits an audible and/or usual signal or message when actuated. Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, direct dial telephone devices, audible alarms and subscriber alarms.
- AUDIBLE ALARMS
- A device that emits and sends an audible signal from the premises that it is designated to protect.
- For purpose of this chapter, wherever the term "Chief" appears by itself, it shall be interpreted to mean the Police Chief and/or the Fire Chief as the context and circumstances require.
- DIAL ALARM OR DIRECT DIAL ALARM
- Any type of alarm system using telephone lines transmitting an alarm directly through the police switchboard providing warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or other perils by way of recorded voice message.
- DIGITAL ALARM
- A microprocessor-controlled alarm switch designed to connect to a console or central station.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm or signal of an alarm system actuated by inadvertence, negligence, intentional or unintentional act of a person other than an intruder and including, as well, alarms caused by mechanical failure, malfunctioning or improper installation of the alarm system and related equipment but not including alarms created by mechanical failure, malfunctioning or improper installation of the alarm console. For purposes of § 80-5, false alarms shall not include audible alarms affixed to automobiles.
- FIRE CHIEF
- The Fire Chief or Acting Fire Chief of the Waterford Township Fire Department or his/her designated representative. For purposes of this chapter, the term "designated representative" shall mean any person designated by the Fire Chief to perform a function required or permitted by the provisions of this chapter.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Waterford Township Fire Department.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm system which, when actuated, produces a signal not connected to the alarm console or the police switchboard, such as store burglar alarm activating bell devices, providing warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, flood or other perils. The term "local alarm" shall not include an alarm system on a motor vehicle, provided that such alarm is not interconnected with an alarm device, a dial alarm or a local alarm. The term "local alarm" shall also not include any alarm equipment designated to signal solely within the building (or series of buildings, if owned by the same person) on which it is located and which is not designated to emit signals, visible or audible, to persons outside each building (or series of buildings).
- MONITORED SYSTEM
- An alarm system that, when activated, causes a visual and/or audible signal to a private monitoring center by telephone or other means that results in a telephone call being placed to the Waterford Township Police Department communications center by the monitoring service requesting emergency response to the location of the alarm.
- Includes any natural person, partnership, corporation or association.
- POLICE CHIEF
- The Police Chief or Acting Police Chief of the Waterford Township Police Department or his/her designated representative. For purposes of this chapter, the term "designated representative" shall mean any person designated by the Police Chief to perform a function required or permitted by the provisions of this chapter.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Waterford Township Police Department.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Any condition or occurrence which annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of any person(s) of any community or neighborhood.
- The Township of Waterford.
- VISUAL ALARMS
- A rotating or flashing light that, when activated, is intended to alert the observer that the premises on which it is affixed has been illegally entered.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the singular tense, and words in the singular tense include the plural tense. The word "shall" is always mandatory.
No person shall install, operate or maintain an alarm system on any property within the Township unless such alarm system is registered with the Police Department. Such registration shall include the following information:
The name and address of the property owner.
The name and address of each tenant or occupant of the property if other than the property owner.
The type of alarm device.
The name, address and telephone number of the alarm business(es) selling, installing, monitoring, inspecting, servicing, responding to and/or maintaining the alarm system.
The name and telephone number of at least two persons who can be reached at any time, day or night, and who are authorized to respond to an alarm signal and who can open the premises in which the system is installed.
An indemnification statement signed by the property owner and each occupant of the building utilizing an alarm system registered pursuant to this chapter, where the registrant agrees, in writing, to indemnify and hold the township harmless from and on account of any and all damages arising out of the activities of the registrant or its alarm system on the registrant's premises and arising out of the operation or failure to operate the alarm console.
Any other information deemed necessary for proper registration of the alarm system/device.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to audible alarms affixed to automobiles; provided, however, that the provisions of § 80-7 shall apply to audible alarms affixed to automobiles.
All audible alarm systems in place on the effective date of this chapter shall have a period of six months within which to register such system in accordance with this chapter; provided, however, that if an audible alarm is activated and the Police Department or the Fire Department respond to such activation, whether or not such signal is for a true emergency situation or a false alarm, the property owner must register such system pursuant to this chapter within 14 days after such activation.
Any property with an alarm system/device which has not registered with the Police Department as required by this chapter shall be subject to the following penalties:
The alarm business or owner of any audible alarm system shall be responsible for deactivating any alarm within 60 minutes after notification or after reasonable efforts have been made to notify the owner or alarm business that such alarm is sounding.
Every audible alarm installed after the effective date of this chapter shall have a timing device which automatically shuts off the alarm within 60 minutes after it is activated. An alarm that sounds for more than 60 minutes may be considered a public nuisance as defined in this chapter. All audible alarms installed prior to the effective date of this section must either have a timing device which automatically shuts off the alarm within 60 minutes after it is activated or the property owner must have in place procedures whereby the alarm is manually or automatically shut off within 60 minutes after it is activated.
In the event that an alarm system emitting or sending an audible, visual or other similar response shall fail to be deactivated within the time limitation specified above, the Township Police personnel shall have the right to take such action as may be necessary in order to disconnect any such alarm.
The obligation for the maintenance, repair, upkeep and continuing operation of an alarm system shall be the sole responsibility of the property owner and/or registrant or the person who had the system installed. All components of alarm equipment must be maintained in good repair, and when evidence exists that there has been failure to comply with the operational requirements of this chapter, the Police or Fire Chief is then authorized to require that such device be disconnected until such time as compliance with the chapter requirements is reestablished.
Upon written request from the Police or Fire Chief, an alarm company shall provide a service history of a particular alarm system within five business days after receiving the request.
Any person testing an alarm covered under the terms of this chapter shall notify the Police Department immediately prior to and after the testing is completed. Failure to do so shall subject such person to a warning for a first offense and a one-hundred-dollar fine for each subsequent offense.
The sensory mechanism of alarm devices and local alarms shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and not to be actuated by impulses due to pressure changes in water pipes, short flashes of light, wind, noises, rattling or vibration at doors or windows or other forces unrelated to general alarms.
In addition to any other information that may be required to be supplied by the provisions of this chapter, the Police or Fire Chief may require the alarm business to furnish him with certain statistical data which may be reasonably available relative to specified periods of operation after the effective date of this chapter.
In addition to the normal power supply, alarm devices and local alarms shall have an independent battery, of equal voltage to the normal power supply, which is kept fully charged and shall be capable of switching from one power supply to the other automatically.
The Police Chief may, from time to time, promulgate rules and regulations supplementing this chapter in order to provide for recordkeeping, efficient management and administration of the provisions of this chapter, provided, however, that the Mayor and Township Committee must first approve these rules or any changes thereto.
In the case of false alarms, the Police Department shall cause an investigation to be made and keep a record of all such alarms on file. Upon the occurrence of a false alarm, the Police Department shall cause a form notice of false alarm to be forwarded to the property owner indicating the date and time of the alarm response, comments with respect to the incident and information with respect to the number of false alarms during the given calendar year. The form shall be signed by the Police or Fire Department personnel responding to the false alarm and investigating the matter. For repeated false alarms generated at the same property in any given calendar year, violations and penalties for false alarms shall be based on the following schedule:
Residential and nonresidential properties. For the first, second, third and fourth false alarm in any given calendar year, a written warning shall be issued. For the fifth through eighth false alarm in any calendar year, a fine of $100 for each false alarm occurrence shall be imposed. For the ninth through twelfth false alarm in any calendar year, a fine of $200 for each occurrence shall be imposed. For any false alarm over twelve through fifteen which occurs in any calendar year, a fine of $300 for each occurrence shall be imposed.
Where an alarm system for a specific property or location within a property is the subject of false alarm incident reports of 16 or more during any calendar year, a summons to appear before the Municipal Court for each occurrence shall be issued to the property owner and/or the business operator, and any and all fines and penalties shall be determined by the Court pursuant to § 80-6 of this chapter.
All fines assessed pursuant to this chapter shall be by issuance of a summons to the property owner stating the amount of fine to be paid. Such fine shall be paid to the Municipal Court Clerk.
False alarms created by any act of God as determined by the Police Chief or Fire Chief, shall not be included in the count of false alarm incidents for purposes of calculating the applicable fine under this chapter.
In the event that the Police Chief, Fire Chief or Municipal Court determines that the false alarm(s) occurred as a direct result of an interruption of electrical power, a telephone system malfunction, an alarm equipment malfunction or other causes clearly beyond the control of the owner, the imposition of the applicable false alarm fines or administrative sanction may be waived and not counted as a false alarm incident.
Any person, firm or corporation found guilty in the Municipal Court of the Township for violation of the terms of this chapter other than for the penalties already set forth herein shall be subject to a fine of a minimum of $500 to the maximum allowed by law or imprisonment for a period up to the maximum allowed by law.
Any audible alarm, including, but not limited to, audible automobile or other vehicular alarms, which continues to transmit an audible signal for more than 60 minutes after the property owner, registrant, alarm business and/or vehicle owner is notified, or all reasonable attempts to so notify such person or persons are made, shall be cause to find such property owner, registrant, alarm business or vehicle owner in violation of Chapter 306 of the Township Code and subject to the penalties contained therein.
The provisions contained herein shall apply equally to those alarms systems that are placed in service prior to or subsequent to the effective date of this chapter.