Chapter 7.84
SECURITY ALARM SYSTEMS

Sections:

7.84.010    Purpose of provisions.

7.84.020    Definitions.

7.84.030    Prohibitions.

7.84.040    Registration with Sheriff’s office.

7.84.050    Exemptions.

7.84.060    Operation standards.

7.84.070    False alarms—Fee for emergency response.

7.84.080    Revocation of registration.

7.84.090    Abatement of security alarms.

7.84.100    Unlawful activities designated.

7.84.110    Violation—Penalty.

7.84.010 Purpose of provisions.

The inefficiency resulting from responses by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office to false alarms detracts from its ability to respond to bona fide emergencies. In order to improve the ability of the Sheriff to effectively respond to law enforcement needs, and to encourage alarm system users, lessors, sellers and manufacturers to better construct and maintain alarm systems in the unincorporated areas of the County, an alarm permit requirement is imposed on all alarm system users, hereinafter set forth. Nothing in this chapter is construed to require any Sheriff’s office response to alarm devices. The issuance of an alarm permit does not entitle the holder to any special level of Sheriff’s office service to an alarm device. All Sheriff’s office responses to alarm devices will be made in accordance with the alarm response policy established by the Sheriff. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, certain words and phrases are interpreted as set forth in this section, unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended.

“Alarm business” or “security alarm business” means any business operated by a person, firm or corporation which engages in the activity of altering, installing, leasing, maintaining, repairing, replacing, selling or servicing security alarm systems.

“Audible alarm” means an alarm system which, when actuated, generates an audible sound on the premises.

“Automatic dialing system” means an alarm system which automatically sends over telephone lines, by electronic or optical impulse, radio waves or by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice, text or data message to 9-1-1 indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm is designed to detect.

“Existing security alarm system” means an alarm system which is installed or becomes operational before the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

“False alarm” means an alarm signal, either silent or audible, prompting a response by the County Sheriff’s office, when an emergency situation for which the alarm system was intended does not exist. “False alarm” does not include alarm activations caused by tornadoes, earthquakes or other violent uncontrollable acts of nature.

“New security alarm system” means an alarm system which is installed or becomes operational after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

“Pre-entry alarm system” means an alarm system designed or used to detect any activity outside of a building, structure or facility.

“Security alarm system” means any mechanical or electrical device which is designed or used for the detection of an unauthorized entry into a building, structure or facility, or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act within a building, structure or facility, and to which deputies are expected to respond.

The following devices are not included within the definition of security alarm system:

(1)    Auxiliary devices installed by the telephone company to protect telephone company systems which might be damaged or disrupted by the use of an alarm system;

(2)    Audible alarms affixed to motor vehicles; and

(3)    Alarm systems which are designed or used solely for the detection of fire, smoke, gas, failure of fire suppression equipment, or other fire related hazards.

“Silent alarm” means an alarm system which, when actuated, transmits a signal to a monitor at the predesignated place other than the location where the alarm has been installed.

“Subscriber” means a person who owns or leases property or premises on which a security alarm system is installed, or who contracts with an alarm business for leasing, servicing or maintaining of a security alarm system. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.030 Prohibitions.

(A)    New Security Alarm Systems. It shall be unlawful for any person to install, permit to be installed, operate, or maintain any new security alarm system within any building or structure in the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz, on or after August 1, 2003, unless the alarm system is properly registered pursuant to this chapter.

(B)    Existing Security Alarm Systems. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or maintain any existing security alarm system within any building or structure in the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz, on or after August 1, 2003, unless the alarm system is properly registered pursuant to this chapter.

(C)    Pre-Entry Security Alarm Systems. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any pre-entry security alarm system within any building or structure, on or after August 1, 2003, in such a manner as may prompt a response from the Sheriff’s office.

(D)    Telephone Emergency Messages. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or cause to be used any electrical, mechanical, or electronic attachment or other device to any telephone or communication instrument which automatically reproduces any taped or otherwise recorded message to report a police emergency to the Sheriff’s office without the prior consent of the Sheriff or his/her designee.

(E)    Compliance with Standards and Regulations. It shall be unlawful for any person to install, operate, or maintain any security alarm system in violation of any of the standards and regulations provided for such systems as set forth in this chapter. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.040 Registration with Sheriff’s office.

(A)    The registering authority shall be the Sheriff-Coroner of Santa Cruz County.

(B)    All registrations must be on numbered forms provided by the Sheriff’s office, and contain at least the following information:

(1)    Name, address, and telephone number of business or residence protected by the security alarm;

(2)    Names of three persons who can be contacted 24 hours per day in case of an alarm;

(3)    Name, address and telephone number of the alarm business responsible for maintenance;

(4)    Type of alarm;

(5)    Presence of any ammunition, explosives, flammable liquids, poisonous materials, or any other hazardous material on the property to be protected by the security alarm system;

(6)    Any other information as may be deemed necessary by the Sheriff of Santa Cruz County.

(C)    Whenever any change occurs rendering the written information required by this section obsolete, the subscriber shall give written notice thereof to the Sheriff within five days after such change occurs, and shall provide current, correct information with respect to such change.

(D)    A registration fee in an amount established by the Board of Supervisors by resolution shall be due and payable upon registration of any security alarm system. A permit sticker will be sent upon receipt of fees and renewal information. The permit sticker shall be posted at the front entrance of the premises served by the alarm. Numbers shall be readable from the exterior of the premises.

(E)    A security alarm system registration shall lapse upon the following:

(1)    Removal of the registered security alarm system from the address listed on the registration to a separate and different address; or

(2)    Material change in ownership of the registered security alarm system brought about by sale of the premises or a change in the tenant responsible for the premises. A new registration shall be filed by the new owner or tenant of the premises.

(F)    Upon the lapse of the registration, a new and separate registration shall be required.

(G)    The registration of a security alarm system does not constitute an operational approval of such alarm system, nor relieve the subscriber of his responsibility for complying with all other provisions of this chapter.

(H)    Annually, during the calendar month when the registration expires, every security alarm system registration is renewed and the subscriber shall pay the renewal fee established by resolution by the Board of Supervisors and provide the information required by the renewal notice. [Ord. 5127 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.050 Exemptions.

(A)    No provisions of this chapter relating to fees shall apply to any agency of the United States government, the State of California, or any county, municipal or other government agency or department thereof.

(B)    A pre-entry alarm system, as described in SCCC 7.84.100(B), shall be not subject to the provisions of SCCC 7.84.040 and 7.84.060. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.060 Operation standards.

(A)    All audible security alarm systems shall be equipped with a device which will automatically reset the audible alarm system within 15 minutes after the alarm system is actuated.

(B)    No audible security alarm system shall emit a sound similar to that of an emergency vehicle siren or a civil defense warning system siren.

(C)    Every subscriber maintaining an audible security alarm system shall post the registration number of the alarm system at the main entrance to the building, structure or facility in such a position where it can be read by a person standing at the entrance.

(D)    No security alarm system activates more than one false alarm in any calendar year. [Ord. 5127 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.070 False alarms—Fee for emergency response.

(A)    Subscribers or their agents shall notify the NETCOM at (831) 471-1121 prior to any service, test, repair, maintenance, adjustment, alteration, removal or installation which might actuate a false alarm.

(B)    After any false alarm of the security alarm system caused by a mechanical failure, a security alarm system subscriber shall cause the alarm system to be repaired. No person reactivates such systems until repairs are made.

(C)    Each subscriber pays to the County of Santa Cruz a fee for each false alarm by that subscriber’s alarm system in excess of one false alarm in any calendar year to which the Sheriff’s Office makes a response. The fee is set by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. The fee is due and payable within 30 days of receipt of a bill from the Sheriff. [Ord. 5127 § 1, 2012; Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.080 Revocation of registration.

(A)    The Sheriff may revoke any security alarm system registration if the system does not comply with the operational standards set forth in SCCC 7.84.060 or the subscriber has failed to pay within 90 days any fees due and payable under SCCC 7.84.070.

(B)    The Sheriff shall give 10 days’ written notice of the intent to revoke a security alarm system registration to the subscriber as identified in the most current registration.

(C)    The subscriber may request a hearing by service of a written request on the Sheriff within 10 days of the date of service of the notice of intent to revoke.

(D)    The hearing shall be informal and shall be held before the Sheriff or the Sheriff’s designee, who shall render a decision in writing, based on the documents and evidence presented, either revoking the registration, sustaining the current registration but imposing conditions, or rescinding the notice of intent to revoke. If no hearing is requested, the Sheriff shall give written notice to the subscriber of revocation.

(E)    If the registration is revoked, the subscriber shall disable or disconnect the security alarm system within 10 days of the date of service of the notice of revocation.

(F)    Thereafter, the subscriber may apply for a new registration only after the expiration of six months from the effective date of revocation. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.090 Abatement of security alarm systems.

(A)    The Sheriff may abate a security alarm system as a public nuisance in any of the following circumstances:

(1)    If the subscriber fails to disable or disconnect a security alarm system for which a previous registration has been revoked or for which a previous registration has been conditioned and the conditions have not been fulfilled;

(2)    A security alarm system which has not been registered under this chapter;

(3)    A security alarm system which does not meet the operational standards for alarm systems set forth in SCCC 7.84.060;

(4)    A security alarm system which has given false alarms exceeding six in any given calendar year;

(5)    A security alarm system for which a registration has lapsed and the alarm system is still in operation.

(B)    Abatement shall be according to procedures set forth in Chapter 1.14 SCCC. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.100 Unlawful activities designated.

(A)    Security Alarm Systems. It is unlawful for any person to install, or permit to be installed, operate or maintain any security alarm system within the unincorporated area of the County, on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, without a valid, unrevoked, unlapsed registration pursuant to this chapter.

(B)    Pre-Entry Alarm Systems. It is unlawful for any subscriber to permit any pre-entry alarm systems to emit an audible alarm for more than 10 seconds, or to cause a contact with or require a response from the County Sheriff’s office.

(C)    Standards. Except as provided in SCCC 7.84.050, it is unlawful for any subscriber to violate, or allow the violation of the standards and regulations for security alarm systems specified in SCCC 7.84.060. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].

7.84.110 Violation—Penalty.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of an infraction punishable per Chapter 1.12 SCCC. [Ord. 4730 § 2, 2003].