Chapter 9.24


9.24.010    Purpose.

9.24.020    Definitions.

9.24.030    Exemptions.

9.24.040    Registration of alarm agents.

9.24.050    Requirements – Registration – Technical standards – Posting.

9.24.060    Prohibitions.

9.24.070    Enforcement.

9.24.080    Miscellaneous provisions.

9.24.090    False alarm fee.

9.24.100    Preventative assessment – Collection process.

9.24.010 Purpose.

False alarms pose a hazard to police officers and the general public, divert police officers from useful duties and therefore cause a waste of police services. The purpose of this chapter is to reduce or eliminate the incident of false alarms. [Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.020 Definitions.

A. “Alarm agent” means a person employed by an alarm company operator whose duties include selling on premises, altering, installing, maintaining, moving, repairing, replacing, servicing, responding or monitoring an alarm system, or a person who manages or supervises the duties described. “Alarm company operator” means a person who engages in business or accepts employment to install, maintain, alter, sell on premises, monitor, or service alarm systems or who responds to alarm systems (except for an alarm agent). “Alarm company operator,” however, does not include a business which merely sells on premises, monitors, or responds to alarm systems at the protected premises.

B. “Alarm systems” means equipment which is intended to notify persons of an emergency requiring urgent attention and to which police are expected to respond. The term “alarm system” includes equipment which is designed to (1) detect an emergency, or (2) to be activated by a person to report an emergency.

C. “Alarm user” means (1) a person who owns or is entitled to possession of any premises on which an alarm system has been installed; or (2) a person subscribing or contracting with an alarm business for the leasing, servicing or monitoring of an alarm system. In the case of corporate or other users which are not natural persons, the natural person who has a managerial responsibility for the premises where the alarm is located shall be deemed the “alarm user.” “Alarm user” includes a county, school district and any other public corporation or district.

D. “Audible alarm” means an alarm system which, when activated, generates a sound which is audible outside the structure where the system is located.

E. “Central station alarm system” means an alarm system which, when activated, generates a signal or transmission to a station outside the structure where the alarm was generated (which station then notifies Delta Regional Communications Center of the alarm).

F. “Emergency” means a situation which poses an immediate threat to persons or property. An “emergency” includes an unlawful entry onto premises or an attempted unlawful entry, the commission of a crime, the existence of a fire, or the occurrence of a serious medical problem.

G. “False alarm” means an activated alarm or alarm signal from any alarm which is responded to by the police department but for which no emergency situation exists or where there is no evidence to indicate that there was an emergency situation as determined by the responding officer.

False alarms are excessive if, after written notice from the police department that the system has generated a false alarm, the system then generates two or more false alarms within any 30-day period within a year. Any number of false alarms within a 24-hour period, however, are deemed one false alarm under this chapter. [Ord. 993 § 1, 1990; Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.030 Exemptions.

Unless otherwise stated, this chapter does not apply to the following:

A. An alarm on an automobile, boat, boat trailer, house trailer, or recreational vehicle;

B. A fire alarm;

C. An alarm generated by:

1. A severe storm or earthquake or other violent act of nature; or

2. The interruption of telephone service between premises (“trouble status alarm”). [Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.040 Registration of alarm agents.

A. Under Business and Professions Code Section 7592 et seq., each alarm agent is required to register with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Collection and Investigative Services.

B. An alarm agent doing business in the city shall register his name with the police department and file a copy of his state identification card. No fee is charged for registration in the city. [Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.050 Requirements – Registration – Technical standards – Posting.

A. Registration and Alarm Systems. An alarm user shall register his alarm system with the police department at least 24-hours before the system is activated.

1. Information. An alarm user shall provide registration information on a form provided by the city. The information shall include the names and telephone numbers of at least two persons who can respond to the premises where the alarm occurred. A subscriber to a central station alarm system shall also provide the two names and phone numbers to that central system.

2. Prior Installations. An alarm user whose alarm system was installed before the effective date of this chapter shall register the alarm system within 90 days, or 15 days after notification of the registration requirement by the city, whichever is sooner.

B. Technical Standards.

1. Backup Power Supply. Each alarm system shall be supplied with a backup power supply in such a manner that the interruption or failure of the normal utility electric service will not activate the alarm system. The backup power supply must be capable of operating for at least four hours. The transfer of power must occur in a manner which does not activate the alarm.

2. Automatic Deactivation of Audible Alarms. Each audible alarm system shall be designed to deactivate the sound within 30 minutes. An audible alarm system which has a cutoff and a rearming phase must be able to distinguish between an open and closed circuit. If the circuit is broken, the system must be designed so that it will not rearm.

3. Prior Installations. An alarm user whose alarm system was installed before the effective date of this chapter shall comply with these technical standards within six months after receiving notice from the city.

C. Posting. If an alarm user with an audible alarm has contracted with an alarm company for continuous monitoring service, the alarm user shall post the 24-hour contact phone number in a conspicuous place readable from ground level. [Ord. 983 § 1, 1990; Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.060 Prohibitions.

A. No person may install or operate an audible alarm system which emits a sound similar to that of an emergency siren or civil defense warning system. This excludes yelps, warbles and bells.

B. No person shall install, use or maintain an alarm system which automatically selects a city, police department or other public agency telephone number and plays a prerecorded message to report an emergency without the agency’s prior written consent.

C. No person shall install, use or maintain an alarm system or operate, manage, maintain or use the premises on which the alarm system is located in any manner which causes the alarm system to generate excessive false alarms. [Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.070 Enforcement.

A. It is an infraction for a person to violate or fail to comply with this chapter. An infraction is punishable by:

1. A fine not exceeding $50.00 for a first violation;

2. A fine not exceeding $75.00 for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year;

3. A fine not exceeding $100.00 for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year.

B. In addition to the penalty in subsection (A) of this section and if there are excessive false alarms at a premises, the chief of police may place the premises on “probationary, low priority response status” or on “no response” status after written notification to the alarm user. [Ord. 983 § 2, 1990; Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.080 Miscellaneous provisions.

A. Additional Rules and Regulations. The chief of police may adopt rules and regulations considered necessary to ensure conformance to this chapter.

B. Limitation. The city is under no special duty or obligation to an alarm user or any other person by reason of any provision of this chapter or privileges of an alarm user hereunder, including, but not limited to, any defects in or response to an alarm. [Ord. 867 § 1, 1985.]

9.24.090 False alarm fee.

A. For every false alarm in excess of two within any 30-day period or in excess of eight within any 12-month period, the alarm user shall pay a false alarm fee.

B. The amount of the false alarm fee shall be established by council resolution.

C. For purposes of this section, all false alarms occurring within a 24-hour period are considered one false alarm.

D. If the alarm user’s premises is placed on “probationary low priority response” status or “no response” status as provided in PMC 9.24.070(B), the city may not impose a false alarm fee. [Ord. 993 § 2, 1990.]

9.24.100 Preventative assessment – Collection process.

A. The city may refuse to issue a business license renewal of a business from which the false alarm fee is due until the fee is paid.

B. Failure to pay the false alarm fee is a debt owed to the city. The city may bring an action for the collection of the debt.

C. The debt bears interest at the rate of nine percent a year. Interest accrues from the due date stated on the billing. [Ord. 993 § 2, 1990.]