Chapter 9.54


9.54.010    Purpose.

9.54.020    Definitions.

9.54.030    False alarms—Service assessment.

9.54.040    Reimbursement.

9.54.050    Nonresponse.

9.54.060    Nonresponse notification.

9.54.070    Delays in transmission of response—Liability limitation.

9.54.080    Denial—Revocation—Appeal.

9.54.090    Preventive assessment—Collection process.

9.54.100    Severability.

9.54.110    Violation—Penalty—Public nuisance.

9.54.010 Purpose.

The police department has experienced an increase in the number of false alarms in the city. Habitual false alarms cause a critical drain on available man-power and thereby reduce the availability of police personnel to respond to genuine emergencies. Accordingly, it is necessary that alarm systems within the city (both commercial and residential) be regulated in such a manner as to prevent abuse by habitual false alarms. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, certain words and phrases shall be construed herein as set forth in this section, unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended. The word “shall” is always mandatory and not merely directory.

A.    “Alarm business” means the business carried on by any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, building or installing any alarm system, or causing to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility.

EXEMPTION: The provisions of this section do not include a business which engages in the manufacture or sale of any alarm system unless such business services, installs, monitors or responds to alarm systems at the protected premises.

B.    “Alarm system” means any mechanical or electrical device which is designed or used for the detection of intrusion into a building, structure or facility, or for altering others of an event within a facility, or both, which event causes a local audible alarm or transmission of a signal or message. Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, direct dial telephone devices, audible alarms and proprietor alarms. Devices which are not designed or used to evoke a police response, or used to register alarms that are intended to be audible, visible or perceptible outside of the protected building, structure or facility are not included within this definition, nor are auxiliary devices installed by a telephone company to protect its system which might be damaged or disturbed by the use of an alarm system.

C.    “Appellant” means a person who perfects an appeal pursuant to this chapter.

D.    “City” means the city of San Pablo.

E.    “Day” means a calendar day.

F.    “False alarm” means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agent. Such terminology does not include, for example, alarms caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent conditions. Upon failure of the police department to find any evidence of intrusion, fire or other need or cause for activating an alarm system, a conclusive presumption of false alarm will be made.

EXEMPTION: Alarms activated during the first thirty days after the initial installation of the system will not be counted as false alarms.

G.    “Person” means a person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, individual, organization or company.

H.    “Police department” means the police department of the city and the “chief of police” shall mean the chief of such department or his authorized representative.

I.    “Proprietor alarm” means an alarm which is not regularly serviced by an alarm business.

J.    “Subscriber” means any person, business or other entity which owns or is entitled to possession of any premises on which an alarm system has been installed. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.030 False alarms—Service assessment.

Any subscriber or person who maintains or has an alarm connected to the police alarm board or who has an alarm system which requires police response created by any signal, message or alarm and transmitted to emergency units and which proves to be false alarm, shall pay a false alarm service assessment fee to the city as follows:

A.    A new alarm system owner may be given a thirty-day grace period for the purpose of training of parties responsible for the alarm and testing of their new equipment.

B.    The maximum number of allowable false alarms reported shall be no more than two in any twelve-month period beginning January 1st of each year and ending December 31st of the same year. The alarm subscriber shall be notified of each false alarm.

C.    Any number of false alarms in a twenty-four-hour period may be deemed as one false alarm for purposes of this section.

D.    The chief of police shall notify in writing any subscriber who has exceeded the number of allowable false alarms in a twelve-month period. False alarms shall result in a service assessment fee, in accordance with the current city fee schedule. (Ord. 89-001 § 1, 1989: Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.040 Reimbursement.

A subscriber shall be required to reimburse the city for the cost to the police department of manpower and equipment responding to each and every false alarm, in excess of the number set forth in Section 9.54.030. The amount of such reimbursement shall be fixed by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.050 Nonresponse.

A.    The chief of police may designate that a subscriber’s alarm is an alarm warranting a “nonresponse” by emergency units.

B.    The chief of police may establish a nonresponse status in lieu of the service assessment fee. This non-response status will be based on any of the following:

1.    Improper training of personnel at the location of the alarm system; improper maintenance of the alarm system resulting in an excessive number of false alarms, as set forth in this chapter;

2.    Failure to pay prescribed fees;

3.    Failure of responsible individuals to respond to the location of an errant alarm for maintenance repair;

4.    The alarm system has been activated for reasons or offenses other than probable burglaries or robberies;

5.    Failure to comply with any other provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.060 Nonresponse notification.

The chief of police shall notify in writing any subscriber who is deemed subject to the nonresponse status that five days after receipt of notification, emergency units will no longer respond to the alarm system. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.070 Delays in transmission of response—Liability limitation.

The city shall be under no obligation to subscribers or to any other person by reason of any provision of this chapter, 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 an alarm. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.080 Denial—Revocation—Appeal.

A.    Any subscriber, alarm agent or alarm business aggrieved by the action of the chief of police in denial, revocation, change of response or service assessment fees, may file a written appeal to the city manager within thirty days of notification of denial, revocation or change of status of emergency unit response, as notified by the chief of police.

B.    The city manager shall either deny or concur with the appeal within thirty days, and shall so advise the applicant, in writing, within that time period. The city manager may authorize the continuance of police response during the appeal process.

C.    A subscriber, alarm agent or alarm business filing an appeal with the city manager, and receiving authorization for continued response during the appeal time period, shall agree to pay the service assessment fee for each false alarm during the appeal period.

D.    The city council shall have the final decision on all appeals, providing the aggrieved party has filed a notice of appeal, after denial by the city manager, within ten days. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.090 Preventive assessment—Collection process.

A.    The city may withhold the annual business license of any business until the complete payment of any false alarm service assessments are made in full.

B.    The city is authorized to collect and sue any parties who have failed to pay any false alarm service assessments, or comply with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.100 Severability.

If any section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter or any part thereof is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional or invalid or ineffective, by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity or effectiveness of the remaining portions of this chapter or any part thereof. The city council declares that it would have passed each section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more of these sections, subsections, subdivisions, paragraphs, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid or ineffective. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)

9.54.110 Violation—Penalty—Public nuisance.

Any violation of this chapter shall be considered an infraction. Violations of this chapter are misdemeanors if a defendant has been convicted of three or more violations of this chapter within a twelve-month period immediately preceding the commission of the offense and such prior convictions are admitted by the defendant, or alleged in the accusatory pleading. For this purpose, a bail forfeiture shall be deemed a conviction of the offense charged. Any violation of this chapter shall constitute a public nuisance. In addition to any other remedies provided in this chapter, the city may summarily abate and bring civil suit to enjoin or abate the violation. Each day that a violation of this chapter is committed or continues, is a separate offense and is punishable as a distinct and separate offense. (Ord. 84-015 § 1 (part), 1984)