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A. Purpose: Response to false alarms consumes many hours of valuable police time and resources, reduces the mental preparedness of officers responding to alarms in the event that an actual emergency exists, and presents significant health, safety and welfare hazards to the citizens of the City. Those who utilize faulty alarm systems which repeatedly generate false alarms necessitating police response are misusing available police resources.
B. Definitions: For purposes of this article, the terms and phrases used shall be defined as follows:
ALARM ADMINISTRATOR: The Chief of Police, or the person designated by the Chief of Police to be responsible for the administration of this part as it pertains to registration, false alarms and the Police Department's response to activated alarms.
ALARM USER: Any person, firm, partnership, company, association, corporation, owner, tenant or lessee or an authorized agent or representative, having possession of an alarm site.
BURGLARY ALARM: A device designed to trigger automatically without any direct intervention on the part of the alarm user. A burglary alarm is intended for the protection of property by detecting and signaling the occurrence of one of the following:
1. An unauthorized presence on premises;
2. An unauthorized entry onto premises;
3. An unauthorized tampering with property;
4. An unauthorized taking of property.
FALSE ALARM: The accidental, unintended, inadvertent or erroneous activation of an alarm indicating that there is a crime in progress at an alarm site, or the unintended activation of an alarm through equipment malfunction when no crime or other physical emergency has actually occurred. A "false alarm response" means that a police officer was actually dispatched to the scene. Cancellation of the request for response prior to dispatching a police officer shall not be considered a false alarm response.
ROBBERY ALARM: A device which is directly triggered by a person with the intent of summoning help. It may also be triggered by the taking of property directly from the presence of the protected person. A robbery alarm is intended for the protection of persons against actual or threatened robbery, assault or other serious crime.
C. Service Charge:
1. A service charge of thirty dollars ($30.00) shall be assessed upon an alarm user for each police response to a second false alarm by the alarm user within any alarm registration period.
2. A service charge of seventy five dollars ($75.00) and one hundred dollars ($100.00) shall be assessed upon an alarm user for police response to the third and fourth false alarms within the alarm registration period. After the fourth false alarm within the alarm registration period, the Police Department shall have the discretion to suspend police response to any alarm site that has requested a police response to four (4) false alarms.
3. Should the Police Department, in its sole discretion, choose to respond to subsequent alarm condition at an alarm site that has had more than four (4) false alarms within the alarm registration period and determine that the subsequent alarm condition was false, the alarm user shall be assessed a service charge of two hundred dollars ($200.00).
4. The decision to respond to any alarm condition, regardless of the number of false alarms recorded at the alarm site previously, if any, shall be made in the sole discretion of the Police Department. A decision to respond to an alarm condition at an alarm site shall not impose upon the Police Department a duty to respond to any future alarm conditions at that site.
D. Alarm Site Response Reinstatement: At the Alarm Administrator's discretion, the Police Department may reinstate response to an alarm site that has had four (4) or more false alarms within the alarm registration period. An alarm user's written request to the Alarm Administrator shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable reinstatement fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00). The Alarm Administrator shall consider the type of residence or commercial activity conducted at the alarm site, the number of persons residing or employees located at the alarm site, the volume of pedestrian or vehicular traffic visiting the alarm site, the type of equipment used at the alarm site, telephone or electric service disruption history, the number of previous false alarms, prior requests for response reinstatement and any other information relevant to the alarm, the alarm site or the alarm user. The Alarm Administrator, in the Administrator's sole discretion, may require alarm inspection or alarm user training prior to approving reinstatement, and may reduce or waive false alarm fees, as appropriate. The Alarm Administrator's decision to approve or deny reinstatement, or to reduce or waive fees, shall be made to further the efficient use of Police Department resources and in the interests of the public health, safety and welfare. Reinstatement of response to the alarm site authorizes the alarm site to be eligible for police response to an alarm condition, but shall not impose upon the Police Department a duty to respond to any future alarm conditions at that site.
E. Appeals: An alarm user may appeal the Alarm Administrator's determination of the number of false alarms or the denial of response reinstatement. The alarm user shall file a written notice of appeal with the Chief of Police, or the Chief's designee, within ten (10) days of the Alarm Administrator's notice of determination to the alarm user and pay an appeal fee of twenty five dollars ($25.00). The Chief of Police shall conduct a hearing to determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the Alarm Administrator's decision, and shall have discretion to modify or refund any false alarm fees collected. The Chief of Police, or the Chief's designee, is further authorized, with the advice of the City Attorney's Office, to promulgate rules and regulations for the conduct of hearings. Hearing rules and regulations shall be provided to any alarm user filing a written notice of appeal and shall also be available to the public by request. (Ord. 82-217; Ord. 95-115; Ord. 97-229; Ord. 01-42; Ord. 08-129)