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(A) Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.
ACT OF GOD. An unusual, extraordinary, sudden and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature, which cannot be prevented by human care, skill or foresight.
ALARM ADMINISTRATOR. A person or persons designated by the City to administer, control and review false alarm reduction efforts and administer the provisions of this section.
ALARM BUSINESS. A person subject to the state and local licensing requirements, and/or a business engaged in selling, leasing, installing, servicing or monitoring alarm systems as defined by A.R.S. § 32-101.
ALARM PERMIT. A permit issued by the City allowing the operation of an alarm system within the city.
ALARM SIGNAL. A detectable signal; audible, silent, and/or visual, generated by an alarm system, to which law enforcement is requested to respond.
ALARM SYSTEM. Any single device or assembly of equipment designed to signal the occurrence of an illegal or unauthorized entry or other illegal activity requiring immediate attention and to which law enforcement is requested to respond, but does not include motor vehicle or boat alarms, fire alarms, or alarms designed to elicit a medical response.
ALARM USER. Any person, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, governmental or educational entity or any other entity owning, leasing or operating an alarm system, or on whose premises an alarm system is maintained for the protection of such premises.
AUTOMATIC DIAL PROTECTION DEVICE. An automatic dialing device or an automatic telephone dialing alarm system and shall include any system which, upon being activated, automatically initiates to the Yuma Police Department a recorded message or code signal indicating a need for law enforcement response.
CANCELLATION. The process where response is terminated when the alarm business (designated by the alarm user) notifies the Yuma Police Department that there is not an existing situation at the alarm site requiring police response after an alarm dispatch request. If cancellation occurs prior to the Emergency Communication Center dispatching police officers, this is not a false alarm for the purpose of civil/criminal penalty, and no penalty will be assessed.
CITY. The City of Yuma or its agent.
FALSE ALARM. The activation of an alarm system through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation, or the negligence of the alarm user, his/her employees or agents, and signals activated to summon law enforcement personnel unless law enforcement response was cancelled by the alarm user or his/her agent before law enforcement personnel are dispatched to the alarm location. An alarm is false within the meaning of this section when, upon inspection by the Yuma Police Department, evidence indicates that no unauthorized entry, robbery, or other such crime was committed or attempted in or on the premises which would have activated a properly functioning alarm system. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a FALSE ALARM shall not include an alarm which can reasonably be determined to have been caused or activated by an electrical storm or Act of God.
FALSE ALARM AWARENESS CLASS. A class conducted by law enforcement or alarm professionals for the purpose of educating alarm users about the responsible use, operation, and maintenance of alarm systems and the problems created by false alarms.
LOCAL ALARM. An alarm system that emits a signal at an alarm site that is audible or visible from the exterior of a structure and is not monitored by a remote monitoring facility, whether installed by an alarm business or user.
PERMIT REVOCATION/SUSPENSION OF RESPONSE. The termination of police response to alarms at a specified alarm site as a result of false alarms of other violations of this section. Reestablishment of the alarm permit and police response may occur when the alarm user has provided sufficient evidence that the cause of excessive false alarms or other violations of this section has been identified and corrected. Permit revocation and suspension of response will continue for the remainder of the permit year or until the corrective process is complete.
PERMIT YEAR. A 12-month period beginning on the day and month on which an alarm permit is issued.
RUNAWAY ALARM. An alarm system that produces three or more alarm signals within one hour that do not appear to be caused by separate human action. The Yuma Police Department may in its discretion discontinue police responses to alarm signals from what appears to be a runaway alarm.
SIA CONTROL PANEL STANDARD CP-01. The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) approved Security Industry Association (SIA) CP-01 Control Panel Standard, as may be updated from time to time, that details recommended design features for security system control panels and their associated arming and disarming devices to reduce false alarms. Control panels built and tested to this standard by a nationally recognized testing organization, will be marked to state: "Design evaluated in accordance with SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard Features for False Alarm Reduction".
VERIFY. An attempt by the monitoring business, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch, to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request. For the purpose of this section, telephone verification shall require, as a minimum that a second call be made to a different number if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify themselves to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch.
(B) Alarm permit.
(1) Permit required. No person shall use an alarm system without obtaining a permit for such alarm system from the City or its designee. Each alarm permit shall be assigned a unique permit number, and the user may be required to provide the permit number along with the address to facilitate law enforcement dispatch.
(2) Application. The permit shall be requested on an application form provided by the City or its designee. An alarm business has the duty to provide an application to the alarm user.
(3) Transfer of possession. When the possession of the premises at which an alarm system is maintained is transferred, the person (user) obtaining possession of the property shall file an application for an alarm permit within 14 days of obtaining possession of the property. Alarm permits are not transferable.
(4) Reporting updated information. Whenever the information provided on the alarm permit application changes, the alarm user shall provide correct information to the City or its designee within 14 days of the change. In addition, each year after the issuance of the permit, permit holders will receive from the City, or its designee, a form requesting updated information. The permit holder shall complete and return this form when any of the requested information has changed; failure to comply will constitute a violation and may result in a civil penalty or suspension of response.
(5) Multiple alarm systems. If an alarm user has one or more alarm systems protecting two or more separate structures having different addresses and/or tenants, a separate permit shall be required for each structure and/or tenant. The single owner of a multi-unit complex with the same address can obtain one permit.
(6) Assessed fines. Failure to make timely payment of assessed fines or fees may result in revocation of the alarm permit and suspension of response.
(7) Alarm business violation. It shall be a violation of this section for any person or business to operate an alarm system during the period in which the alarm users permit is revoked. At no time will an alarm business attempt to request alarm response services for a specific alarm user from the police department after notification from the City or its designee that the specified alarm user's permit is revoked.
(C) Duties of the alarm user.
(1) Maintain the premises and the alarm system in a method that will reduce or eliminate false alarms; and
(2) Provide the alarm business the permit number, (the number should be provided to the Emergency Communications Center by the alarm business to facilitate dispatch);
(3) Must respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm system's location within 30 minutes when notified by the Yuma Police Department;
(4) Not manually activate an alarm for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report;
(5) An alarm user must obtain a new permit and pay any associated fees if there is a change in address or ownership of a business or residence.
(D) Duties of the alarm business.
(1) Any person engaged in the alarm business in the City, shall comply with the following:
(a) Obtain and maintain the required state, county and/or City of Yuma license(s).
(b) At least monthly, provide a report of all names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the new users or a designee, who can be called in an emergency, 24 hours a day; and a local responsible person or other emergency contact who will respond immediately.
(c) Provide the most current contact information for the alarm user.
(d) Alarm business shall supply permit application to alarm user at time of installation or activation.
(2) Ninety days after enactment of this section the alarm installation businesses shall, on all new and up-graded installations, use only alarm control panel(s) which meet SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.
(3) Prior to activation of the alarm system, the alarm business must provide oral and written instructions explaining the proper operation of the alarm system to the alarm user such that the potential for false alarms is reduced or mitigated.
(4) Provide written information of how to obtain service from the alarm business for the alarm system.
(5) An alarm business performing monitoring services shall:
(a) Attempt to verify, by calling the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephone, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting dispatch. Telephone verification shall require, as a minimum that a second call be made to a different number, if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify themselves to attempt to determine whether an alarm signal is valid, EXCEPT in the case of a panic or robbery-in-progress alarm, or in cases where a crime-in-progress has been verified by video and/or audible means.
(b) Provide address, and alarm user permit number, when available, to the Communications Center to facilitate dispatch and/or cancellations.
(c) Communicate any available information about the zone or sensor activation location of the alarm.
(d) Communicate a cancellation to the Law Enforcement Communications Center as soon as possible following a determination that response is unnecessary.
(E) Prohibited acts.
(1) It shall be unlawful to activate an alarm system for the purpose of summoning law enforcement when no burglary, robbery, or other crime dangerous to life or property is being committed or attempted on the premises, or otherwise to cause a false alarm.
(2) It shall be unlawful to install, maintain, or use an audible alarm system which can sound continually for more than ten minutes.
(3) It shall be unlawful to install, maintain, or use an automatic dial protection device that reports, or causes to be reported, any recorded message to the Yuma Police Department.
(F) Enforcement of provisions.
(1) Excessive false alarms/failure to register. It is hereby found and determined that four or more false alarms within a permit year is excessive, constitutes a public nuisance, and shall be unlawful. Alarm Administrator or representative will notify alarm users, via regular mail to the mailing address on file or other acceptable means, of excessive false alarms and/or failure to register. Alarm users are required to keep mailing addresses and contact information current. Officers may be used to hand deliver notices if letters are returned or unanswered. Civil penalties for false alarms within a permit year may be assessed against an alarm user as follows:
First and second false alarm Notification only
Third false alarm $100 or False Alarm Awareness Class
Fourth false alarm $100
Fifth false alarm $125
Sixth false alarm $150
Seventh false alarm $175
Eighth false alarm $200
Ninth false alarm $225
Tenth false alarm $250
Additional alarms Permit revoked
Failure to register $50 in addition to other penalties
(2) Other civil penalty(ies). Failure to complete mandatory False Alarm Awareness Classes along with other violations of this section will be enforced through the assessment of civil penalty(ies) in the amount of $100 per violation.
(3) Payment of civil penalty(ies). Civil penalty(ies) shall be paid within 30 days from the date of the invoice.
(4) Civil non- criminal violation. A violation of any of the provisions of this sectoin shall be a civil violation and shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.
(G) False Alarm Awareness Class. The Alarm Administrator may create and implement a False Alarm Awareness Class and may request the assistance of the area alarm companies to assist in developing and implementing the class. The class shall inform alarm users of the problems created by false alarms and instruct alarm users how to help reduce false alarms. The City may grant the option of attending a class in lieu of paying one assessed fine.
(1) Appeals process. Assessments of civil penalty(ies) and other enforcement decisions made under this section may be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal with the Yuma Police Department within ten days after the date of notification of the assessment of civil penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision. The failure to give notice of appeal within this time period shall constitute a waiver of the right to contest the assessment of penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision. Appeals shall be heard through an administrative process designed and implemented by the City.
(2) Appeal standard. The hearing body shall review an appeal from the assessment of civil penalty(ies) or other enforcement decisions using a preponderance of the evidence standard. Notwithstanding a determination that the preponderance of the evidence supports the assessment of civil penalty(ies) or other enforcement decision, the hearing body shall have the discretion to dismiss or reduce civil penalty(ies) or reverse any other enforcement decision where warranted. The decision of the hearing body shall be final and may be appealed to the appropriate judicial jurisdiction in accordance with the administrative appeal process set forth at A.R.S. § 12-901 et seq.
(I) Confidentiality. All information contained in and gathered through the alarm registration applications, all response records, applications for appeals and any other alarm records are considered public record unless otherwise prohibited or restricted by state law. The storage, processing and transmission of payment cardholder data is PCI Compliant. All permits are destroyed in accordance with Arizona State Record Retention Schedules.
(J) Government immunity. Alarm registration is not intended to, nor will it, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, of response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained. By applying for an alarm registration, the alarm user acknowledges that the Yuma Police Department response may be influenced by factors such as: the availability of police units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels and prior response history.
(K) Severability. The provisions of this section are severable. If a court determines that a word, phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, section, or other provision is invalid or that the application of any part of the provision to any person or circumstance is invalid, the remaining provisions and the application of those provisions to other persons or circumstances are not affected by that decision.
('80 Code, § 20-23) (Ord. 1798, passed 12-20-78; Ord. O2015-013, passed 5-20-15) Penalty, see § 10-99