Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 92-66. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this Article is to establish standards and regulate the various types of intrusion, hold-up, and other emergency signals from alarm users that require police response or investigation.
Unless it is apparent from the context that another meaning is intended, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. 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 words in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
ALARM SYSTEM
An assembly of equipment and devices, including, but not limited to, automatic dialing devices, automatic hold-up alarm systems, burglar alarm systems, and hold-up alarm systems, as those terms are defined in this ordinance, arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police are expected to respond. This definition does not include alarms on motor vehicles or fire alarm systems. If, however, an alarm system on a motor vehicle is connected with an alarm system on premises, the system is an alarm system as defined in this ordinance. This definition also does not include alarm systems that are used only to alert or signal persons located within the premises in which the alarm system is located of an attempted unauthorized intrusion or holdup attempt. If such a system, however, employs an audible signal or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, such a system shall be subject to the provision of this ordinance.
ALARM USER
Any person owning, occupying, or controlling any building or premise, in Harford County, in, on, or at which an alarm system is maintained. For purposes of this ordinance, any tenant, lessee, licensee, or invitee who or which causes an alarm system to be maintained within Harford County shall be deemed to be an alarm user subject to this ordinance.
AUTOMATIC DIALING SERVICE
An alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a pre-recorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of an emergency situation that the alarm system is designated to detect.
AUTOMATIC HOLDUP ALARM SYSTEM
An alarm system in which the signal transmission is initiated by the action of the intruder.
BURGLAR ALARM SYSTEM
An alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the area protected by the system.
COUNTY
Harford County, Maryland.
DIRECT CONNECT
An alarm system which has the capability of transmitting system signals directly to the Sheriff's Office communication center or the Bel Air Barrack of the Maryland State Police.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
FALSE ALARM
The activation of an alarm system, to include an automatic dialing device, through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents that results in a response by the Harford County Sheriff's Office. Such terminology does not include, for example, alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, electrical storms or other violent conditions, or an alarm signal activated during the first 60 calendar days after an alarm system is installed.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
HOLDUP ALARM SYSTEM
An alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
The Harford County Sheriff's Office or any authorized agent thereof, to include the Maryland State Police.[1]
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "law enforcement executive," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed by Bill No. 07-22.
No direct connections shall be permitted in Harford County unless authorized by the Sheriff or the commander of the Bel Air Barrack of the Maryland State Police.
A. 
Each alarm user, at his expense, is required to maintain all components of his alarm system in good working order at all times to insure that the sensory mechanism used in connection with such device is adjusted to suppress false indications of emergencies. The device shall not be activated by impulses due to short flashes of light, wind noises, vehicular noise or other forces unrelated to genuine alarms.
B. 
No alarm system designed to transmit emergency messages shall be tested or demonstrated without first notifying the communications center of the Harford County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police, Bel Air Barrack.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
C. 
New installations shall be provided with a 60-day grace period before the provisions of Section 62-6 apply.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
No person shall allow, permit, cause or fail to prevent the emission, for any reason, by any alarm used by him, or any alarm serving a premises or a building occupied and controlled by such person, of more than 2 false alarms within any calendar year. The emission by any alarm system of more than 2 false alarms in any calendar year is deemed to be excessive and constitutes a serious public nuisance, and is subject to service charges set out in the section following.
A. 
For response to excessive false alarms by the Sheriff's Office, the alarm user shall be charged a service fee by the county of $100 for the first alarm in excess of 2 false alarms in any calendar year, $150 for the second false alarm in excess of 2 in any calendar year, and $200 for the third and each successive false alarm in excess of 2 in any calendar year. The Sheriff shall determine whether a false alarm has occurred and the frequency of such false alarms. The alarm user will be notified by the communication section each time an alarm occurs. The County Treasurer or his designee shall notify alarm users of amounts owed to the county and shall make demand therefore, pursuant to the provisions of this section.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
B. 
Once notified by the Treasurer's office, the user will have 30 days to pay any said service charges.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
C. 
False alarm service charges for building owners shall be treated in the same manner as property taxes for enforcement of payments as provided in Section 123-32 of the Harford County Code, as amended. Tenants who have installed alarm systems shall be responsible for false alarm service charges.
D. 
Delinquent false alarm service charges shall bear interest at the same rate per month or any fraction thereof as provided in Section 123-27 of the Harford County Code. Invoices for false alarm service charges are to be paid within 30 days of the date rendered and deemed delinquent if not paid. Any administrative costs or legal fees the county incurs in the collection of the fees shall be the responsibility of the alarm user.
[Amended by Bill No. 07-22]
E. 
The county may proceed by a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect said charge after demand therefor has been made by the county and the payment thereof refused by the alarm user.
Service charges will be deposited to the general fund.