PENDING ORDINANCES
Alarm ordinance 1-27-2020
ALARM SYSTEMS DESIGNED TO SUMMON A POLICE OR FIRE RESPONSE
Purpose.
(a) The vast majority of alarms to which the Police and Fire departments respond are false alarms reported by alarm monitoring companies.
(b) Most false alarms are the result of improper maintenance or use of an alarm system.
(c) The public and public safety personnel are subjected to needless danger when personnel respond to false alarms.
(d) Personnel responding to false alarms are not available to carry out other duties.
(e) In the interest of using limited public safety resources most effectively and efficiently, the number of false alarms should be reduced.
(f) The purposes of this article are to reduce the dangers and inefficiencies associated with false alarms, to encourage alarm companies and property owners to properly use and maintain the operational reliability of their alarm systems, and to reduce or eliminate false alarm dispatch requests.
 
Definitions.
Alarm administrator means the person or entity designated by the Chief of police to administer the provisions of this article.
Alarm agreement means the legal contract by and between the alarm installation company and/or monitoring company and the alarm user.
Alarm agreement holding company means the alarm installation company or monitoring company that holds the alarm agreement with the alarm user.
Alarm Installation Company means a person in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing an alarm system at an alarm site for compensation.
Alarm dispatch request means a notification that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.
Alarm registration means a registration and unique number issued by the alarm administrator to an alarm user, which authorizes the operation of an alarm system.
Alarm site means a location served by one or more alarm systems.  In a multi-unit building or complex, each unit shall be considered a separate alarm site if served by a separate alarm system. In a single unit building that houses two or more separate businesses with separate alarm systems, each business will be considered a separate alarm site.
Alarm system means a device or series of devices, which emits or transmits an audible or remote visual or electronic alarm signal, which is intended to summon emergency response.  The term includes hardwired systems, surveillance cameras, and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, and includes local alarm systems, but does not include an alarm installed in a motor vehicle or on an individual’s person, or a system that will not emit an audio or visible signal from the outside of the building, residence or beyond, but is designed solely to alert the occupants of a building or residence.
Alarm user means a person who has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service for an alarm system from an alarm installation company or monitoring company, or who owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under agreement.
Alarm user awareness class means a class conducted for the purpose of educating alarm users about the responsible use, operation, and maintenance of alarm systems and the problems created by false alarms.
Arming station means a device that controls an alarm system.
Automatic voice dialer means any electronic, mechanical, or other device which, when activated, is capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message to the requesting public safety personnel to an alarm site.
Burglar alarm means an automated alarm intended to identify the unauthorized entry or attempted unauthorized entry into an alarm site. 
Cancellation means the termination of a response to an alarm site after an alarm dispatch request, by notification that there is not an existing situation at the alarm site requiring a response.
Duress alarm means a silent robbery alarm system signal generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the alarm user is being forced to turn off the system and requires a police response.
Enhanced call verification means an attempt by the monitoring company, or its representative, to contact the alarm site, the alarm user, or the alarm user’s designated representatives by telephone or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before initiating an alarm dispatch request for a burglar alarm, in an attempt to avoid a false burglar alarm dispatch request.  For the purpose of this article, telephone verification shall require, at a minimum, that a second call be made to a different number, if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user or the alarm user’s designated representative who can properly identify himself or herself and verify whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting an officer dispatch. Names and numbers of those called shall be provided to the city or its alarm administrator, upon request.
False alarm means an alarm dispatch request that results in the responding officer finding no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense after completing an investigation of the alarm site. Excluded from this definition are:
   (a) Alarms caused by action of a communications services provider (i.e., telephone, cellular, or    cable company);
   (b) Alarms caused by a power outage of more than four (4) hours, severe weather such as a    tornado, or an earthquake;
   (c) Alarms activated after the alarm installation company has, in good faith, provided advance    notice to the 911 dispatch center that the alarm system would be undergoing installation or    modifications and maintenance that could trigger a false alarm signal; and
   (d) Multiple false alarms at an alarm site within a twenty-four (24) hour period, which may be    considered as one false alarm if the alarm user has taken immediate corrective action, unless    the false alarms are directly caused by the alarm user.
Fire alarm response means an alarm response by the Bixby Fire Department requested by an individual, firm, corporation, or entity acting as the alarm user for a specific premises.
Fire alarm system means any electronic and/or mechanical system used to detect a fire emergency on the property served by the alarm system.  A fire alarm system may include multiple monitoring devices serving the same premises.
Holdup alarm means a silent robbery alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery is in progress.
Monitoring means the process by which a monitoring company receives signals from an alarm system and relays an alarm dispatch request to the dispatch center. 
Monitoring company means a person in the business of providing monitoring services.
Panic alarm means an audible alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life threatening or emergency situation requiring an officer response.
Registration number means a unique individual number issued by the alarm administrator and assigned to an alarm user as part of the alarm registration process.
Responsible party means a person who is capable of appearing at the alarm site upon request, has access to the alarm site and the code to the alarm system, and has the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.
Robbery alarm means an alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal that a robbery is in progress and that a person is in need of immediate police assistance in order to avoid bodily harm, injury, or death.  The term includes holdup alarms and duress alarms. 
Administration; establishment of fees.
(a) The Chief of police is the principal city official for administration of this article.
(b) All fees to be assessed pursuant to this article shall be recommended by the Chief of police, approved by the City Counsel, and listed in the City fee schedule.
(c) The Chief of police shall designate an alarm administrator to carry out the duties and functions described in this article.
 
Alarm registration required.
(a) No person shall operate, or cause to be operated, any alarm system without a valid annual alarm registration issued by the alarm administrator in accordance with this article.
(b) A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site. 
(c) Failure to register any alarm system within thirty (30) days of receiving notice from the alarm administrator to do so shall be classified as use of a non-registered alarm system.
 
Alarm registration applications.
(a) Alarm registration can be accomplished in several ways:
   
   (1) By phone directly to the Alarm management company.
   (2) Electronically through the Cities web-site at www.bixbyok.gov
   (3) Electronically by cell phone app available for download on I-phone or Android devices.
 
(b) Each application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable registration fee and shall include the following information:
   
   (1) The name, address, and telephone numbers of the person who will be the registration       holder and be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the alarm system and    payment of fees assessed under this article;
   (2) The address and description of the alarm site;
   (3) For each alarm system located at the alarm site, the classification of the alarm system (i.e.,       burglar, robbery, holdup, duress, or other), and for each classification, whether such alarm is    audible or silent;
   (4) A description of any dangerous or special conditions present at the alarm site;
   (5) The name and telephone numbers of at least two individuals who are able and have agreed    to receive notification of an alarm activation at any time, respond to the alarm site within    twenty (20) minutes, and provide access to the alarm site and deactivate the alarm system    upon request; and
   (6) A signed certification from the alarm user stating:
      
      (i) The date of installation;
      (ii) The name, address, and telephone number of the alarm installation company and          monitoring company;
      (iii) That a set of written operating instructions for the alarm system, including written          guidelines on how to avoid false alarms, have been left with the applicant; and
      (iv) That the alarm installation company has trained the applicant to properly use the          alarm system and avoid false alarms.

(c) Upon receipt of a completed alarm registration application form and the alarm registration fee, the alarm administrator shall register the applicant, unless:
   
   (1) the applicant has failed to pay any fee assessed under this article;
   (2) the applicant has made a false statement of a material fact for the purpose of obtaining an    alarm registration.

(d) An alarm registration shall expire one (1) year from the date of issuance, and must be renewed annually by the alarm user by submitting an updated registration application and a registration renewal fee to the alarm administrator. The alarm administrator shall notify the    alarm user of the need to renew forty-five (45) days prior to the expiration of the registration. It is the responsibility of the alarm user to submit the renewal application prior to the registration expiration date.
   (1) Alarm permits renewed within thirty (30) days after the permit expiration date will be    assessed a late fee in addition to the renewal fee.
   (2) Failure to renew after thirty (30) days from the permit expiration date shall classify the    alarm system as an un-registered alarm system.
   
Registration fees.
(a) The alarm administrator shall charge and collect all registration fees, which may include an initial registration fee, a renewal registration fee, and late fees.
(b) Governmental entities shall not be required to pay registration or registration renewal fees but are required to obtain and maintain a valid alarm registration for all alarm sites and are subject to all other provisions of this article, to the extent allowed by law.
 
Transfer of registration prohibited; notification of changes to information.
(a) An alarm registration may not be transferred to another person or alarm site.
(b) An alarm user shall notify its monitoring company and the alarm administrator of any change to the information listed on the alarm registration application within ten (10) business days after such change.
 
Duties of alarm users.
(a) An alarm user shall:
   
   (1) Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate    false alarms.
   (2) Make every reasonable effort to arrive at the alarm system’s location within twenty (20)    minutes after being requested by the monitoring company, police department, or fire    department in order to:

      i. Deactivate an alarm system;
      ii. Provide access to the alarm site; or
      iii. Provide alternative security for the alarm site.

   (3) Provide the monitoring company with the updated names and telephone numbers of at    least two (2) individuals who are able and have agreed to: 

      i. Receive notification of an alarm system activation at any time;
      ii. Respond to the alarm site at any time; and
      iii. Provide access to the alarm site and deactivate the alarm system, if necessary.   

   (4) Not activate an alarm system for any reason other than the occurrence of an event that the    alarm system was intended to report.
   (5) Not operate or cause to be operated any automatic voice dialer.
   (6) Maintain a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system at each alarm site.
Audible alarms; abatement of malfunctioning alarm. 
(a) No alarm system shall emit a sound resembling an emergency vehicle siren or civil defense warning. The Chief of police shall make the final determination regarding compliance with this section.
(b) No person shall install, modify or repair an alarm system within the city that has a siren, bell or other signal that is audible and sounds for longer than ten (10) minutes after the alarm is activated. 
Alarm user list; designation of alarm response manager.
(a) Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this article, each alarm agreement holding company shall provide the alarm administrator with an alarm user list, in a format approved by the alarm administrator, containing the required information for all alarm users as of the effective date of this article.  The alarm agreement holding company may apply to the alarm administrator for an extension based on extenuating circumstances. 
(b) An alarm installation company or monitoring company that converts the servicing or monitoring of any alarm system account from another company shall notify the alarm administrator of such conversion and shall provide to the alarm administrator, within sixty (60) days from the date of conversion, an alarm user list of the converted accounts in a format acceptable to the alarm administrator.
(c) Each alarm installation company shall provide the name, address, and telephone number of any monitoring company it is using to monitor its alarm sites within the city, and monitoring companies shall do the same for any alarm installation company that uses its monitoring services within the city.
 
Duties and authority of the alarm administrator.
(a) The alarm administrator shall designate the manner, form, telephone numbers, and processes for the communication of alarm dispatch requests and cancellations, and establish and implement a procedure to acquire and record information on alarm dispatch requests.
(b) The alarm administrator shall establish and implement a procedure to notify an alarm user in writing after each false alarm, which notice shall include the following information:

   (1) The date and time of an officer’s response to the false alarm;
   (2) The amount of the fee for the false alarm;
   (3) A statement of the right to appeal the alarm administrator’s decision.

(c) With the approval of the Chief of police, the alarm administrator may require that a conference be held with an alarm user and the alarm installation company or monitoring company responsible for repairing or monitoring of the alarm system to review the circumstances of a false alarm. The conference may be held in person or by telephone call, at the alarm administrator’s discretion.   
(d) If a false robbery or panic alarm has occurred and the alarm was triggered using a single action, non-recessed device, the alarm administrator shall grant a waiver of the false alarm fee if immediate action is taken by the alarm user to remove or replace the single action, non-recessed device in accordance with the requirements of this article.
(e) The alarm administrator shall make a copy of this article or a summary sheet available to each alarm user.
(f) The alarm administrator may use electronic means to communicate with alarm users, alarm installation companies, and monitoring companies, as applicable, when requested by the recipient and at the alarm administrator’s discretion.
 
False alarm fees.
(a) The alarm administrator shall assess a registered alarm user a fee for each false alarm occurring after the 3 rd free alarm, at the alarm user’s alarm site. 
(b) Any person operating an un-registered alarm system will be subject to a fee for each false alarm, in addition to any other applicable fines or fees. 
   
   (1) If an un-registered alarm fee is assessed, the user may opt to register their alarm system for    the permit fee within 10 business days.  Doing so will cause the un-registered alarm fee to be    waived.

(c) If cancellation of a police or fire response occurs prior to their arrival at the alarm site, the response is not considered a false alarm and no false alarm fee will be assessed.
(d) If any fee is not paid within thirty (30) days after the invoice is mailed by the alarm administrator, a late fee shall be imposed.
(e) The alarm administrator shall waive the false alarm fee for the first three false alarm during each one (1) year registration period.
(f) Failure to pay false alarm fees is a violation of this article. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit prosecution in municipal court for violation of any provision of this article and assessment of any other penalties as provided by law.
(g) There is hereby created within the police fund, a special account into which all monies received for the administration of this program are deposited, from which expenditures may be used for police operations.
 
Appeals.
(a) An alarm user, alarm installation company, or monitoring company may appeal any decision of the alarm administrator under this article to the Chief of police, as follows:
   
   (1) The appealing party shall file a notice of appeal within twenty (20) days of receipt of the    alarm administrator’s decision, which shall set forth the reasons for the appeal and be    accompanied by an appeal fee.  The appeal fee will be returned to the appealing party if the    appeal is successful, in whole or in part. 
   (2) The Chief of police or designee shall conduct a hearing on the appeal within thirty (30) days    after receipt of the notice of appeal and shall consider the evidence submitted by the appealing    party and the alarm administrator. The Chief of police or designee must affirm or reverse    the decision or action taken by the alarm administrator based on the preponderance of    evidence presented at the hearing, and must render a decision within fifteen (15) days after the    date of the hearing. The Chief of police or designee’s decision shall be a final order of the city.
   (3) Filing of an appeal shall stay all actions and proceedings in furtherance of the alarm    administrator’s actions that are the subject of the appeal, until the appeal process has been    exhausted.   
   (4) If a notice of appeal is not filed within twenty (20) days of the alarm administrator’s    decision, the alarm administrator’s decision shall be deemed a final order of the city.
 
Penalties.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision of this article.
(b) Every day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(c) The violation of any provision of this article is hereby deemed to be grounds for revocation of any registration or authorization granted in accordance with this article.
(d) The city shall have the authority to maintain civil suits or actions in any court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this article.
(Published in the Tulsa Business & Legal News,
   City of Bixby, Tulsa County, Oklahoma
   __________, 2020.)