[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Caldwell 8-7-2012 by Ord. No. 1260-12. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 51, Alarm Systems, adopted 7-9-1996 by Ord. No. 1014-96, as amended.
The Borough governing body finds that many owners and occupants of residential and commercial premises within the Borough have installed various types of alarm devices for the purpose of detecting or preventing burglary, fire and other perils; that such devices are of different types, character and quality; that many of such devices have external audible alarm systems which emit loud noises; that many of such devices do not contain automatic shutoff systems and, because of the absence or unavailability of the owner or operator of such devices, it is often difficult or impossible to control, terminate or shut off such devices, thereby exposing persons in the vicinity of such devices to loud noises for lengthy and indefinite periods of time; that these conditions are contrary to the public health, welfare and well-being of persons in the community; and that uncontrolled emission of alarm signals for lengthy and indefinite periods of time is not necessary to the legitimate purpose to be served by such devices. The governing body further finds that the public safety and welfare interests of the municipality will be promoted if such devices conform to certain standards. The governing body further finds that the occurrence of false alarms from the various types of alarm devices and the intentional or unintentional misuse of such devices cause unnecessary response by the Police Department, thereby resulting in unnecessary expenses and an unproductive diversion of police personnel and equipment from their normal public safety functions.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulations concerning the operation and maintenance of certain alarm devices and systems within the Borough of Caldwell and to provide penalties for the violation of any of the provisions hereof.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM CONSOLE
- The control panel or panels located in police headquarters for the purpose of receiving alarm signals and for giving alarm indications and locations.
- ALARM DEVICE
- Any type of alarm-actuating equipment which provides warning of intrusion, fire, smoke, burglary, flood or like peril, including a direct alarm or a local alarm. For the purpose of this chapter, the term "alarm device" shall not include self-contained smoke detectors with an indoor audible alarm signal.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- The installation in one or more buildings of one or more alarm devices.
- DIRECT ALARM
- An alarm device which has a direct line to an alarm console.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm where an emergency does not exist, or an alarm actuated by inadvertence, negligence or an unintentional or intentional act of someone other than an intruder, and shall include alarms caused by malfunctioning of the alarm device or alarm system or its related equipment. The term "false alarm" shall not include alarms created by malfunctioning of the Police Department alarm console or other Police Department equipment; or activations caused by public utility interruptions where such interruptions have been reported to the police; or activations caused by a natural disaster; or activations caused by testing or repair of an alarm system or device, provided that the Police Department has been notified prior to the commencement of such tests or repairs; or an activation which is immediately followed by a telephone call to the Police Department, from the owner or operator of the device, notifying the Police Department that the alarm signal is to be disregarded.
- LOCAL ALARM
- Any alarm device, other than a direct alarm, which, when activated, produces an external emergency signal.
- Any natural person, partnership or corporation, limited partnership, association, business, club or organization.
Any person that owns, operates, maintains or has on his/her property any alarm device within the Borough of Caldwell shall notify the Police Department in writing and on registration forms available at the police headquarters. Such notice shall state the name, address and telephone number of the owner or operator of the alarm device, the location of the device and the name, address and telephone number of at least two persons who can be reached in case of an emergency or malfunction in order that the device can be shut off or temporarily disconnected.
Any connection of direct alarms to the police alarm console shall be of a type inspected and approved by the contractor servicing the police alarm console at the time of the installation of the direct alarm device. It shall be the responsibility of the person causing the direct alarm device to be installed to make arrangements with the approved contractor for the payment of all connection fees and maintenance charges. The Borough of Caldwell shall not be charged for alarm console connection fees or maintenance charges. A schedule of connection fees and maintenance charges shall be maintained at the Caldwell police headquarters.
All external audible alarms shall be registered with the Police Department in accordance with this chapter and shall be equipped with a timing device that will automatically silence the external audible alarm signal within 30 minutes after it is activated.
The Police Department shall cause a record of all false alarms that occur in the Borough. The owner or operator of an alarm device within the Borough shall be subject to the following penalties for false alarms that occur during any calendar year:
For the first and second false alarms, a written warning shall be issued to the owner or operator.
For the third and fourth false alarms, there shall be imposed a fine of $75 for each false alarm.
For the fifth and subsequent false alarms, there shall be imposed a fine of $150 for each such false alarm. In addition, in the case of false alarms involving direct alarms, the Police Department shall conduct an investigation as to the reasons for such continued false alarms, and, upon a finding by the Police Department that there has been abuse or neglect in the operation or maintenance of any such alarm device and a failure to take reasonable action to remedy the cause of such false alarms, the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, may require that such alarm device be disconnected from police headquarters, either temporarily or permanently. No disconnection shall be made until after 10 days from the date the Police Department has given written notice to the owner or operator that the device will be disconnected. The owner or operator shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Police Department to the Borough governing body. Notice of an appeal must be in writing and must be filed in the office of the Borough Clerk not later than 10 days from the date notice of intended disconnection is given by the Police Department. If an appeal is filed as provided herein, the Mayor and Council shall hold a public hearing on the matter and may affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the Police Department, and no disconnection shall be made until the appeal is decided by the Mayor and Council.
As a condition prerequisite to the installation of a direct alarm on the Police Department alarm console with Police Department headquarters, the owner or operator of such alarm device shall be required to agree, in writing, to indemnify and hold harmless the Borough of Caldwell and its agents, servants and employees, including but not limited to members of the Caldwell Police Department, from any and all damages arising out of connection of such owner's or operator's equipment to police headquarters, including all damages arising out of or as a result of any forced entry by police personnel into unattended premises occurring during alarm response.
This chapter shall apply to alarm devices placed in service prior to or subsequent to the effective date hereof; provided, however, that owners or operators of existing alarm devices shall have 30 days from the effective date hereof to register such alarm devices with the Caldwell Police Department in accordance with this chapter and 120 days from the effective date hereof to equip alarm devices having an external audible alarm with an automatic silencing mechanism as required by this chapter.
This chapter shall be enforceable in the Municipal Court of the Borough of Caldwell. Any person who is guilty of violating any provision of this chapter, other than a provision for which a specific penalty is indicated, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof is held invalid for any reason, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end, the provisions of this chapter are severable.