[HISTORY: Derived from Sec. 4-2 of the 1999 Code of the Township of Clinton. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Mayor and Council of the Township of Clinton hereby finds and declares that:
The occupants of numerous residential and commercial establishments have found it desirable to make provision for the installation upon their premises of alarm systems for emergencies such as burglary and fire and other perils.
There have been a substantial number of false alarms associated with the alarm systems which have been installed within the Township. The number of false alarms has resulted in a situation that, if not remedied, will affect the general health, safety and welfare of the community and inhibit the response of the police and fire personnel in a true emergency, will lead to an unnecessary drain upon the manpower, time, space, facilities and finances of the Township, its Police and Volunteer Fire Departments and the deterioration of quality of service to persons subscribing to alarm systems services and inequities among the alarm businesses operating in the Township.
The public interest therefore requires and enactment of rules, regulations, standards and procedures to regulate and control the alarm systems installed in the Township.
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate and control the installation, operation and maintenance of private alarm systems within the Township in order to insure that the quality of alarm responses rendered to the public will be maintained at a high level, to eliminate potential harm resulting in responses to false alarms, and to alleviate conditions otherwise leading to unnecessary drain on the manpower, time, space, facilities, and finances of the Township of Clinton and its Police and volunteer Fire Departments.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide standards and regulations for various types of intrusion, burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, and other emergency alarm equipment which produce a visual or audible signal or function by direct line, radio, telephone or by any other means requiring a response by the Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department or other municipal agencies.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to alarm businesses and to any person who operates, maintains or owns any alarm device, dial alarm, or local alarm designed to produce a visual or audible signal of an emergency and designed to summon or alert, directly or through others, the police, fire service, or other municipal agencies in response to any type of alarm signal.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter unless otherwise specifically stated:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by a person, partnership, corporation, or other individual or entity which engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling, servicing or responding to an fire, burglar, or carbon monoxide alarm system(s) or which causes any of these activities to take place. Excluded from this definition however are retail establishments which sell alarm systems over the counter and do not service same.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-activating equipment which provides warning of burglary, intrusion, fire, flood, carbon monoxide or like peril.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Equipment or a device, or an assembly of equipment and devices, to signal the presence of an emergency or hazard requiring urgent attention and to which the Police Department, Fire Department or other municipal agency may be expected to respond.
- ALARM USER
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization or entity of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm device or system is maintained, and including but not limited to owners, tenants, subtenants or otherwise.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Township of Clinton or his designated representative.
- DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE
- The designated representative of the Chief of Police or the Fire Official, who performs a function required or permitted by this chapter, under the supervision of the Chief of Police or the Fire Official.
- DIAL ALARM
- Any type of alarm system using telephone lines, transmitting an alarm directly through the communications switchboard, answering service, or alarm company console, providing warning of intrusion, fire, or other peril.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any alarm or signal of an alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence, intentional or unintentional act of a person, domestic animal and/or household pet other than an intruder; and including alarms caused by mechanical failure, malfunction, or improper installation of the alarm system and related equipment. It shall further include improper adjustment (sensitivity) to suppress false indications due to short flashes of light, wind, noises, rattling or vibrations of doors or other forces.
- FIRE ALARM EQUIPMENT
- Includes the following:
- FIRE OFFICIAL
- The Fire Chief of the Township of Clinton or his designated representative.
- FIRE SERVICES
- The authorized companies providing fire protection and suppression to the Township of Clinton.
- INDEPENDENT SMOKE DETECTOR
- A device having an audible alarm indicating smoke, carbon monoxide and/or fire within a structure and not connected to an alarm system or to any external sounding device outside of the structure.
- The person who holds the license to install, operate, and maintain the alarm/alarm console pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm system, which, when activated, produces a signal not connected to an alarm console or the communication switchboard, including but not limited to business burglar alarms actuating bell or other sound-generating devices and/or light-emitting devices providing warning or intrusion or other peril. The term "local alarm" shall not include an alarm system solely connected to a registered motor vehicle, nor shall the term include equipment designed to signal solely within a building or series of buildings and which does not emit signals, visible or audible, to persons outside such building or buildings, i.e. independent smoke detector.
- Any natural person or individual, or any firm, partnership, association, limited partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, or any other business entity.
- Any person who owns an alarm device who has obtained a permit according to the provisions of this chapter. All permits shall be issued and fees paid therefor on a one time basis.
- WRITTEN NOTICE
- Notice by certified mail, return receipt requested.
No person shall install, operate or maintain any alarm system unless the alarm system has been registered with the Township of Clinton Police Department. The Police Department shall provide a copy of all approved registration forms to the Township of Clinton Fire Subcode Official and Fire Chief.
An alarm system shall be deemed registered at such time as the registration form supplied by the Police Department is completed as to all information requested therein. Among the information to be provided on the registration form is the following:
The name, address, and telephone number of the owner, upon which the alarm system is installed.
The name, address and telephone number of the installer of the system.
The type of system.
A list of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the person(s) to be contacted in the event of an alarm or in an emergency situation determined by the Police or Fire Department
The names, addresses and twenty-four-hour telephone numbers of the persons or company maintaining the alarm system.
No further renewal registration shall be required unless and until there has occurred any material change in the information previously submitted with respect to any alarm systems in which event it shall be the duty of the owner and user of the alarm system, within 10 days of such material change, to file a supplemental or revised registration containing accurate, current information.
A fee in the amount of $10 shall accompany each registration. For change or reregistration of new owners or users, there shall be a fee of $10. Upon payment of the fee and filing of the registration, two decals will be issued by the Police Department. The decals will be placed in plain view, near the front/main entrance and rear/secondary entrance of the premises.
All preexisting alarm systems shall comply with the requirements of this chapter within 60 days of the date of the final adoption of this chapter.
Excluded from this provision are independent smoke detectors and independent carbon monoxide detectors that do not emit an audible or visible signal outside of the structure.
Each alarm system as defined herein and installed after the effective date of this chapter shall utilize discrete circuitry for multipurpose alarm systems to insure appropriate emergency response.
Any alarm system which requires for its operation electricity supplied by a public utility may be equipped with a battery rendering it operable in the event of a power outage if so desired by the property owner. Such a battery backup shall be required for any alarm system which will trigger itself automatically in the event of a power outage.
Every alarm system must be provided with a device which will shut off the alarm after 10 minutes of activation.
Every burglar alarm system shall be equipped with a time delay of at least 15 seconds which may include an audible signal of the same length of time, said time delay to be designed to prevent accidental activation of the system. The fifteen-second audible signal, if utilized, shall be audible only within the structure and not externally.
No alarm system may be connected directly or indirectly to the Police or Fire Department.
No person shall install, cause to be installed, or permit to be installed, any alarm device by whatever name known, which automatically selects a telephone line dedicated to the Police or Fire Department for the purpose of playing a recorded message to report any emergency. All alarm systems shall be programmed to dial Hunterdon County Communications at 908-782-0911.
All dial alarms shall be capable of being disconnected to allow a call to police headquarters or Hunterdon County Communications in the event of a false alarm.
No police, fire or other public department or official shall be responsible in any way for the resetting or maintenance of any alarm system.
No alarm business or person owning, using or possessing an alarm system shall cause or permit the giving of repeated false alarms, for test purposes or otherwise. Owners/operators of such alarms shall be governed by the false alarm procedures and penalties set forth in this chapter.
If any person has any dial alarm connected at the time of the effective date of this chapter, it shall be reprogrammed (Refer to § 56-10 below) within 30 days of said effective date to comply with this chapter.
The contents of a dial alarm message shall be clear and intelligible and in the format approved by the Chief of Police or Fire Official. No such message shall be transmitted more than two times as a result of a single stimulus of the mechanism. Messages shall not exceed 15 seconds and the time gap between each shall not exceed 10 seconds.
The sensory mechanism of dial alarms shall be adjusted so as to suppress false indications and not be actuated by impulses due to short flashes or light, wind, noises, rattling, or vibration of doors or other forces unrelated to general alarms.
Permits for local alarm systems shall not be issued with respect to buildings which are not owner-occupied, prior to receipt by the Chief of Police of satisfactory proof that the occupant of the building has been notified of the existence of such alarm system, or of the owner's intent to install a local alarm system and the provisions of this chapter.
By installing an alarm system and registering same with the Township of Clinton, each permittee agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Township of Clinton and the Volunteer Fire Department of the Township of Clinton and mutual aid departments, their agents, servants and employees from and against any and all claims, suits, damages, costs, losses and expenses, and to release the Township of Clinton, the Volunteer Fire Department of the Township of Clinton and mutual aid departments, their agents, servants, and employees from any and all liability or damages in any way resulting from or arising out of or connected with the installation, operation or maintenance of the alarm system or any act or omission connected therewith.
Any alarm business and/or property owner having knowledge of the sale or change of tenants in a property shall be responsible for notifying the Police Department when one of its customers, tenants and/or owners possessing an alarm system sells the property or changes tenancy. The alarm business, and/or property owner shall notify the Police Department of the name of the new owner or tenant and whether or not the new owner or tenant is continuing with an alarm device or system within the property.
All information submitted in compliance with this chapter shall be held in the strictest confidence and shall be deemed a record exempt from public disclosure pursuant to state statute. Any violation of confidentiality shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
Any person who fails to register an alarm system as required by the provisions of this chapter is subject to a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $500 fine, for each and every violation.
Any owner, user or alarm business who installs such a system that is not in compliance with this chapter is subject to a fine of $50 and may be required to remove such an alarm system.
In the case of each false alarm which summons the Police or Fire Department to respond, the Chief of Police or Fire Chief as appropriate shall cause an investigation to be made and shall keep a record of such false alarms on file.
In the event of the occurrence of three false alarms within a twelve-month period, the permittee shall within three days after written notice to do so from the Chief of Police, complete a written report setting forth the cause or causes of the false alarms, the corrective action taken and a statement as to whether the alarm system has been inspected and/or serviced by an alarm service company, and such other information as the Chief of Police may reasonably require.
Any person who intentionally causes the giving of false alarms shall be in violation of this chapter and subject to a penalty of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 and/or imprisonment for any term not to exceed 90 days, and/or by a period of community service not to exceed 90 days, for each such offense.
Any person testing an alarm system covered by the provisions of this chapter shall notify the Police Department and Hunterdon County Communications immediately prior to and immediately after the testing is completed. Failure to do so shall constitute a violation of this chapter and subject such person to the penalties set forth herein.
The Chief of Police and Fire Official shall cooperate in all respects in connection with the administration of this chapter and the forms, permits, decals, records and any other documents used by the Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police may from time to time promulgate rules and regulations in furtherance of the administration of this chapter which shall be enforced through the Police Department. Said rules and regulations shall become effective upon approval by resolution of the Mayor and Council.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Police Department.