4.14.002 Purpose and Scope.

a.    The purpose of this section is to set forth regulations governing alarm systems, both commercial and residential, within the City, and provide for enforcement of violations of provisions of this section.

b.    This section is not enacted pursuant to the power to license or tax business for revenue purposes. Any fee or charge authorized by this section is for the sole purpose of defraying the cost and expense of regulating the activities of the above-mentioned alarm systems and of responding to false alarms.

4.14.004 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to this section:

a.    "Alarm business" means any business operated by a person or business entity that engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling, servicing or responding to an alarm system. Public agencies are not included within this definition.

b.    "Alarm system" means an assembly of equipment and devices designed to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police or fire agencies are expected to respond. "Alarm system" includes, but is not limited to, audible alarms, automatic dialing systems, commercial alarms, robbery alarm systems, intrusion alarm systems, intrusion holdup alarm systems, remote signaling systems, fire alarm systems, and alarm systems that monitor temperature, humidity, smoke or other products of combustion.

c.    "Audible alarm" means any alarm system that generates a sound that is designed to be heard outside the building where the system is installed.

d.    "Automatic dialing system" means an alarm system that automatically sends over telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a message or signal indicating the existence of an emergency situation.

e.    "Chief" means the Chief of Police of the City of Oakley or his or her designated representative.

f.    "Commercial alarm" means an alarm installed on premises that are not primarily used for residential purposes.

g.    "False alarm" means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, electrical failure, electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation or maintenance, or the negligence of the owner, lessee, or of their employees or agents. Such terminology does not include, for example, alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other violent, uncontrollable acts of nature.

h.    "Intrusion alarm system" means an alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the area protected by the system.

i.    "Manual holdup alarm system" means an alarm system in which the signal transmission is initiated by the direct action of the person attacked or by an observer of the attack.

j.    "Police alarm board" means an alarm-receiving center operated by the Police Department.

k.    "Public agency" means and includes the State, county and any city or district therein, and any departments or officers thereof.

l.    "Remote signaling system" means an alarm signaling system that, when activated by an alarm device, transmits a signal from an alarm signaling device to a central location, including, but not limited to, the police alarm board, where appropriate action is taken to investigate and respond to the signal.

m.    "Robbery alarm system" means an alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.

n.    "Subscriber" means any person or business entity that owns, leases, rents, or is entitled to possession of any property in which an alarm system is installed. Public agencies are not included within this definition.

4.14.006 Audible Alarm Requirements.

a.    No audible alarm shall be installed, maintained, or used that emits a sound similar to that of an emergency vehicle siren.

b.    The subscriber of an audible alarm affixed to real property shall post a notice containing the name and telephone number of the person to be notified to render repairs, services or turn off the alarm when the alarm is activated. Such notice shall be posted near the alarm in such a position as to be legible from the ground adjacent to the building.

c.    All audible alarms shall be designed and/or equipped to turn off automatically no more than 20 minutes after activated.

d.    No subscriber shall design or equip an audible alarm to set itself automatically.

4.14.008 Back –Up Power.

a.    All new commercial alarms shall be supplied with an uninterruptible power supply in such a manner that the failure or interruption of the normal utility electric service will not activate the alarm system. The power supply shall be capable of operating for at least four hours.

b.    Commercial alarms installed prior to the enactment of this chapter shall comply with this requirement within six months of the effective date hereof.

4.14.010 Automatic Dialing Systems.

a.    No person or business entity shall use or operate, cause to be used or operated, arrange, adjust, program, or otherwise provide or install any device or combination of devices, including alarm systems, that will, upon activation, initiate the calling, dialing, or connection to any telephone number, line, or instrument assigned to a public agency in the City, or contractor of the City providing police dispatch services, for the purpose of delivering a recorded message, without the prior written consent of the City or agency.

b.    The public agency may withdraw its consent by mailing written notice to the person to whom consent was given and such person shall disconnect the device(s) within seven calendar days of mailing the notice of withdrawal.

c.    An automatic dialing system shall dial the specific telephone number assigned to it and no other.

4.14.012 Police Alarm Board.

No alarm shall terminate at the police alarm board without the prior written consent of the Chief.

4.14.014 False Alarm Fee.

a.    For every false alarm in excess of three during any 12-month period, the subscriber of the errant alarm shall pay a false alarm fee. The fee shall gradually increase for subsequent false alarms in excess of three.

b.    The false alarm fees shall be included with the City’s Master Fee Schedule and may be adjusted by the City Council by resolution. The City’s Master Fee Schedule is available through the City’s Finance Department.

c.    For purposes of this section, all false alarms within a 24-hour period shall be deemed one false alarm.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 07-19, adopted May 14, 2019)

4.14.016 Nonresponse.

a.    In lieu of the false alarm fee, the Chief of Police may determine that a subscriber’s alarm is an alarm warranting a "nonresponse" by emergency units.

b.    "Nonresponse" status may be based on one or more of the following conditions:

1)    Personnel at the location of the alarm system are not properly trained;

2)    The alarm system is not properly maintained;

3)    False alarms are a recurring problem;

4)    The subscriber has failed to pay the false alarm fee within 30 days after the date of mailing the invoice;

5)    The subscriber has failed or refused to respond to the location of an errant alarm;

6)    The alarm system has been activated for reasons other than probable burglary, intrusion or robbery; or

7)    The subscriber has failed to comply with any provision of this chapter.

c.    Emergency units will not respond to alarm systems in "nonresponse" status.

4.14.018 Nonresponse Notice.

The Chief shall give written notice to any subscriber who is deemed subject to nonresponse status that, seven calendar days after the mailing of the notice, emergency units will no longer respond to the subscriber’s alarm system unless a successful appeal to the Chief is timely made.

4.14.020 Hearing Procedure.

a.    Within seven days of the date of the mailing of a "nonresponse" notice, the subscriber may mail written request, by first-class mail, return receipt requested, for a hearing before the Chief of Police. The request shall set forth the reason(s) why the alarm should not be placed on nonresponse status.

b.    The Chief shall set a hearing and mail written notice of the date, time, and place thereof to the subscriber at least 10 days prior to the date of such hearing.

c.    At the hearing, the parties or their authorized representatives may present relevant oral and documentary evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

d.    The decision of the Chief of Police may be appealed to the City Manager no later than 10 days from the date of mailing the decision. The letter of appeal must state the grounds for appeal and must be mailed no later than 10 days from the date the decision is mailed.

4.14.022 Liability Limitation.

The City shall be under no duty or obligation to subscribers or any other person or business entity, by reason of any provision of this section or any privileges of a subscriber hereunder, including, but not limited to, any defects in the police alarm board or any delays in transmission or response to any alarm.

4.14.024 Collection Process.

The City is authorized to collect the false alarm fee and sue any person or business that has failed to pay the fee within a reasonable time or failed to comply with any provision of this section.

4.14.026 Punishment – Public Nuisance.

a.    Any violation of this section is an infraction.

b.    Any violation of this section shall constitute a public nuisance. In addition to any other remedies provided in this chapter the City may summarily abate and bring suit to enjoin or abate the nuisance.