[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Medford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-22-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-21]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 32, Alarms, adopted 12-20-1983 by Ord. No. 1983-28, as amended.
Numerous persons currently transmit alarms to the Township by one or more various means referred to as "alarm equipment" in this article. By transmitting alarms to the Township, either directly or through a monitoring service, such persons engage in a relation with the Township, which relation imposes reciprocal duties, responsibilities and obligations on such persons. The number of false alarms transmitted by these alarm systems is troublesome, burdensome and costly to the Township, its police department, its fire districts, its volunteer fire-fighting personnel and its taxpayers. A need exists to curtail such false alarms. This article serves to accomplish this public policy.
The purpose of this article is to provide for regulation of the installation, operation and maintenance of alarm systems within the Township, to regulate related conduct, to provide for enforcement and to provide administrative charges and other effective sanctions for false alarms and penalties for violations of this article.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM EQUIPMENT
- Any and all equipment installed in any residence, business, building or structure in the Township for the purpose of transmitting a signal or alarm from said source to call the attention of the Medford Township Police or Fire Division or Burlington County 9-1-1 systems to an intrusion into such place or source of a fire or hazardous condition, whether or not the equipment is installed in or connected with the Medford Township police headquarters. Where used in this article, the phrase "alarm system" shall have the same meaning.
- Any person, firm or corporation making application to the Township of Medford Police Department for installation or connection of burglar alarm equipment or fire alarm equipment in any residence, business, building or structure in the Township.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal or alarm or activation of any alarm equipment that is not a legitimate alarm.
- A. Any signal or alarm, or activation of any alarm equipment, caused by or resulting from:
- B. The determination as to whether or not an alarm, signal or activation was a legitimate alarm shall be made by the Medford Township Police or Fire Division, after investigation, whose determination shall be conclusive and final.
- Any individual, person, firm, corporation or other entity.
- The Township of Medford.
Every person intending to install or cause to be installed, whether upon his premises or upon the premises of another, an alarm system within the Township shall file with the Police Department, upon a form provided by the Police Department, an application for a certificate of registration for the alarm system. Each application shall include at least the following information and such additional information as the Police Department may prescribe:
The name, street address, mailing address and telephone number of the applicant.
If the applicant is an incorporated or unincorporated entity, the name, street address, mailing address and telephone number of the employee responsible for the installation and maintenance of the alarm system.
A description of the place where the alarm system is to be installed, including the street address and the location within the building.
The name, address and telephone number of the person who will maintain and service the alarm system. A copy of every service agreement and every maintenance agreement shall be furnished to the Police Department, upon request, before a certificate of registration will be issued.
The name, residential addresses and residential and cellular telephone numbers of at least two persons who will respond upon notification to alarms outside of usual business hours.
Evidence of approval of the application or evidence of a construction permit issued for the relevant building by the Township Construction Official.
A certificate from the installer of the alarm system that the components and the system are listed by a recognized agency; the components are compatible with each other; the system has been properly installed and tested by certified technicians; the system is functioning properly in all respects; and the installer has a maintenance or service contract with the owner of the system.
A written agreement by the owner of the system with the Police Department that the owner will properly maintain the system or, upon proper order of the Police Department, disconnect system and keep in force a valid maintenance or service contract with a certified alarm service company.
The certificate of registration for the system will be issued by the Police Department when each item in Subsection A has been provided.
Once an application is approved, the applicant has one year from the date of such approval to install the alarm equipment. The applicant loses the opportunity to install said equipment if the installation thereof is not made within the allotted time.
Upon the installation of any burglar or fire alarm system on behalf of any applicant, there shall be due a monthly service fee to the Township of Medford, as set out in Chapter 71, Fees and Licenses, payable immediately for every month or portion thereof remaining in that calendar year. The twelve-month service fee, as set out in Chapter 71, Fees and Licenses, for each subsequent year, is payable on the first day of each subsequent year until such time as the equipment in question is removed or disconnected.
All alarm equipment installed pursuant to the provisions of this article shall be in accordance with any standards and specifications that are now or hereafter may be adopted and approved by the Medford Township Police or Fire Division and in conformance with applicable construction codes.
The applicant or his agent shall be solely responsible for the proper installation and maintenance of said alarm equipment, including all lines and wiring with respect thereto, which installation shall be made in compliance with all existing codes and ordinances of the Township of Medford applicable thereto. Neither the Township of Medford nor its agents or employees warrants or guarantees in any way the effective operation of any system installed or connected by any applicant.
The Township Council of the Township of Medford or its designated agent, reserves the right to require the removal from Township facilities of any incompatible, inoperable, malfunctioning or dangerous equipment or equipment improperly or negligently operated or maintained or equipment for which the fees set forth in this article have not been paid, and the Township reserves the further right to remove or disable such equipment if timely removal is not effected upon written request.
The Police Department shall investigate each false alarm and maintain a record of each false alarm, including the date and, if determined, the cause.
Fine schedule for false alarms:
Following the first two false alarms at a property in a calendar year, the Police Department, or its designee, shall provide written notice to the owner of the property which warns the owner that repeated false alarms will result in an administrative service fee.
Following the third false alarm in any calendar year, the Police Department, or its third-party designee, shall cause a notice to be mailed to the owner of the property advising that each subsequent false alarm in the calendar year will result in the imposition of a fine in accordance with the following schedule:
Payment shall be due within 72 hours of receipt of the written notice of the false alarm and the fine in accordance with the schedule.
If an investigation discloses continued abuse of the alarm connection privilege, and a failure by the subscriber to take remedial steps to avoid false alarms, the Police Department's investigating official shall have the right to require disconnection from the Police Department dispatch center. In that event, the alarm subscriber will be notified of the disconnection, both orally and in writing, as soon as reasonably possible by the Police Department.
If the Police Department finds that an alarm system is malfunctioning, the Police Department may, after giving oral confirmation of the malfunctioning alarm system to the owner, possessor or operator thereof, discontinue police response to that alarm system. The Police Department shall also, as soon as reasonably possible, forward to the owner, possessor or operator written notice by mail of the discontinuance of police response.
Upon the denial of an issuance of a certificate of registration or upon the imposition of a false alarm fine, the property owner shall have the right to contest said denial or fine to the Chief of Police, Director of Public Safety, then to the Township Manager, then at a hearing before the Township Council. At each level, the Township Official shall review the evidence for or against the request and, upon a preponderance of the evidence, provide a written determination as to the findings and conclusion of the Township Official. Each step of the appeal process must be requested within 10 days of notice of denial of the certificate of registration or the imposition of a false alarm.
No person shall:
Turn in, make, cause or knowingly participate in a false alarm.
Fail to make a timely application required by this article.
Own, possess, operate or cause to be operated a fire alarm system for which a certificate of registration has not been issued and is not in good standing, to the extent one is required by this article.
Operate or cause to be operated a fire alarm system:
In a location or manner or in any other respect prohibited or not permitted by this article;
Which has previously transmitted a false alarm from an inhabited building, until recertified by the enforcing agency upon submission of a completed application;
Which has been expanded, reduced or modified or is a replacement for a prior system, until certified by the enforcing agency upon submission of a completed application;
Whose certificate of registration has been canceled or withdrawn by the enforcing agency;
Which uses a smoke detector as a sensing device, wholly or partially, and which is designed to transmit (or which in fact transmits) its alarm signal to a destination other than an approved central station.
Which uses a carbon monoxide detector to transmit a fire alarm signal to a destination other than the premises at which it is installed.
Fail to comply with a lawful regulation or order of the enforcing agency or fail to pay an administrative charge for a false alarm.
Obstruct, hinder, delay or interfere by force with the enforcing agency or its authorized representative in the exercise of any power or the discharge of any function or duty provided by or reasonably implied from this article.
If he or she is the owner, tenant or such other person having a possessory right to the subject building or other premises, fail after proper request to permit the enforcing agency or its authorized representative to have prompt entry to such building or other premises for the purpose of lawful inspection or examination pursuant to this article.
Enforcement of this article shall be accomplished by the Director of Public Safety or his designee.
Any person convicted of a violation of this article shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000 or a term of imprisonment or community service not to exceed 90 days, in the discretion of the sentencing court.