[HISTORY: Adopted by the Representative Town Meeting of the Town of Fairfield 3-28-1994. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this Alarms Chapter is to encourage security alarm users to maintain the operational reliability and the proper use of alarm systems in limiting unnecessary responses to false alarms.
This chapter governs burglary, robbery and alarm systems, provides penalties for violators and establishes a system of administration.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words used in the plural number include the singular number, and vice versa. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR
- A person or persons designated by the Chief of Police to administer, control and review false alarm notifications.
- ALARM OWNER/USER
- Any person, firm, corporation or other business entity who or which controls, operates or maintains any alarm system.
- ALARM (MONITORING) STATION
- An office to which remote alarm devices transmit signals where operators monitor those signals and relay information to the Police Department.
- ALARM SYSTEMS
- An assembly of equipment and devices, or a single device,
arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention
and to which Police Department personnel are expected to respond.
Excluded from this definition are smoke detectors, alarm systems on
motor vehicles and boats and alarm systems which signal the presence
of a fire.[Amended 1-28-2019]
- AUTOMATIC TELEPHONE DIALING ALARM
- An alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of an emergency situation the alarm system is designed to detect.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system to which the Police Department responds and which is not caused by a criminal act or other emergency. This does not include the activation of an alarm by circumstances normally attributed to extreme weather conditions or a prolonged power outage of four hours or more.
- KEY HOLDER
- Any person holding the key or keys necessary to gain ingress to and egress from the site of the alarm system by permission of the alarm owner/user.
Editor’s Note: The definition of “fiscal year,” which immediately followed was repealed 1-28-2019.
No alarm system shall be installed unless a permit has been obtained from the Town of Fairfield Building Official or his designated representative, as is required by the Building and Electrical Codes of the State of Connecticut.
All alarm monitoring stations are responsible for contacting key holders. This shall not be the responsibility of the Town of Fairfield or its agents.
Automatic dialing services coming directly into the communications center of the Police Department are prohibited in the Town of Fairfield.
Except as otherwise provided by law, no alarm system which produces an exterior audible sound shall be installed unless its operation is automatically deactivated after no more than 15 minutes of operation.
Within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter, preexisting alarm systems which produce audible sound shall be retrofitted so that they are automatically deactivated after no more than 15 minutes of operation.
All alarm systems installed after the effective date of this chapter shall have their own auxiliary rechargeable power source that meets or exceeds Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., standards of at least four hours' duration, which shall be maintained in good working order.
Within 60 days from the effective date of the chapter, preexisting alarms shall be retrofitted to have an auxiliary rechargeable power source that meets or exceeds Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., standards of at least four hours' backup power.
It shall be the responsibility of the Police Department to monitor and keep records of the alarms received. In order to discourage false alarms, the following schedule shall be set forth: after two false alarms in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first false alarm, a letter will be sent to said alarm owner/user informing the alarm owner/user that any further issuance of false alarms will incur a penalty and warning the alarm owner/user that the alarm system should be inspected and the Police Department notified of corrective action taken.
A Fairfield Police Department alarm report copy will be issued upon each response to alarmed premises and will suffice as notification of alarm activation.
For the third false alarm in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first alarm, the alarm owner/user shall be fined $50.
For the fourth false alarm in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first alarm, the alarm owner/user shall be fined $75 per false alarm.
For the fifth false alarms in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first false alarm, the alarm owner/user shall be fined $100.
For the sixth false alarm in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first false alarm, the alarm owner/user shall be fined $125.
If the alarm owner/user causes more than seven false alarms in the course of a one-year period, measured from the date of the first false alarm, the alarm owner/user shall be fined $150 for the seventh false alarm and each subsequent false alarm that occurs during the course of that one-year period.
Failure to pay any such charges within 30 days shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and the alarm owner/user is subject to an additional fine of $125.
A thirty-day grace period will be granted for all newly installed burglary alarm systems. During that time, no penalty shall be assessed. Additional time may be granted by the Chief (or designee). The grace period begins on the date the newly installed alarm is inspected and approved by the Town of Fairfield Building Department.
No person shall knowingly or intentionally activate any alarm system when no police emergency exists. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined $125 and, when applicable, may be additionally subject to prosecution under the Connecticut General Statutes for falsely reporting an incident.
No person shall knowingly or intentionally test, repair, adjust, alter or perform maintenance on an alarm system, or cause the same to be tested, repaired, adjusted, altered or maintained, if such action results in a false alarm, without first notifying the Police Department and/or monitoring company of such test, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance. When there is a reasonable need to consider public safety, the Chief (or designee) may restrict or refuse to permit the testing, repair, adjustment, alteration or maintenance.
Whenever a charge for a false alarm is imposed against the alarm owner/user, said alarm owner/user may, within 30 days of imposition, appeal the charge by filing a written notice of appeal with the Alarm Administrator. A hearing shall be scheduled within 20 days of receipt of the appeal.
This hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer(s). Hearing officers are to be appointed by and to serve at the pleasure of the First Selectman. All hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, Section 7-152c, as amended.
In addition to the other penalties specifically provided in this chapter, any person who performs or causes to be performed any of the following acts shall be subject to a penalty not to exceed $125 for each such act.
Failure to install or maintain an exterior audible timing device, in violation of the provisions of § 45-5.
Fines may be paid at police headquarters during business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or through the mail. (Payment by mail should be made by check or money order only; no cash.)
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection B, which set forth a time during which data on alarms was available, was repealed 1-28-2019.
If any person fails to pay within 30 days any fine or charge imposed, interest shall accrue at the highest rate allowed by law.
If, after a period of three months, an alarm owner/user fails to pay any fine/charges, the matter will be turned over to the Town Attorney for any legal action necessary for collection. The alarm owner/user will be responsible for legal/court fees.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to alarm devices owned and operated by the Town or one of its departments or agencies, including the Board of Education, the State of Connecticut or the United States of America, nor to alarm devices installed in motor vehicles or boats, unless said motor vehicles or boats are used as dwellings or businesses.
The department head having control over the building owned by the Town of Fairfield or one of its agencies, the State of Connecticut or the United States Government shall receive notification of false alarms so that corrective measures may be taken to avoid future unnecessary dispatches.
Except as expressly provided herein, the Town, its departments, officers, agents and employees shall be under no obligation whatsoever concerning the adequacy, operation or maintenance of any alarm system or central monitoring station. No liability whatsoever is assumed for the failure of such alarm systems or central monitoring station or for failure to respond to alarms or for any other act or omission in connection with such alarm systems. Each alarm owner/user shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the Town, its departments, officers, agents and employees from liability in connection with the alarm owner/user's alarm device.
All alarm owner/users shall be required to register their alarm system with the Alarm Administrator on an annual basis by March 1 of each calendar year. Any failure to register an alarm system in accordance with this section shall constitute a violation of this section and may be punishable by a fine of $100.