Division 1. Specific Regulations

Chapter 8.05


Article I. Generally

8.05.010    Definitions.

8.05.020    Purpose.

8.05.030    Inspection.

8.05.040    Testing equipment.

8.05.050    Notice of disruption of service.

8.05.060    Direct connections to police department.

8.05.070    False alarms.

8.05.080    Flashing lights required for certain buildings.

8.05.090    Direct connection to TECOM.

Article II. Automatic Dialing Devices

8.05.100    Interconnection to primary trunk line.

8.05.110    Intermediary service.

8.05.120    Standards.

    Cross References: Police department, TMC 2.30.100; fire prevention and protection, Chapter 2.115 TMC, TMC Title 8, Division 2, and Chapters 14.40 and 14.45 TMC; law enforcement, Chapter 2.120 TMC; businesses, TMC Title 5.

Article I. Generally

8.05.010 Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

“Alarm system” means an assembly of equipment and devices, or a single device such as a solid state unit which plugs directly into a 110-volt AC line, arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police are expected to respond. The term “alarm system” shall include the terms “burglar alarm systems,” and “holdup alarm systems.” Fire alarm systems and alarm systems which monitor temperature, humidity or any other condition not directly related to the detection of an unauthorized intrusion into a premises or an attempted robbery at a premises are specifically excluded from the provisions of this chapter.

“Alarm user” means any person on whose premises an alarm system is maintained within the city, except for alarm systems on motor vehicles or proprietary systems. If, however, an alarm system on a motor vehicle is connected with an alarm system at a premises (other than a proprietary system), the person using such system is an alarm user. Also excluded from this definition and from the coverage of this chapter are persons who use alarm systems to alert or signal persons within the premises in which the alarm system is located, of an attempted unauthorized intrusion or holdup attempt. If such a system, however, employs an audible signal emitting sounds or a flashing light or beacon designed to signal persons outside the premises, such system shall be within the definition of alarm system and shall be subject to this chapter.

“Answering service” means a telephone answering service providing among its services the service of receiving on a continuous basis, through trained employees, emergency signals from alarm systems, and thereafter immediately relaying the message by live voice to the communication center of the police department.

“Automatic dialing device” means any alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of the emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.

“Bank Protection Act” refers to United States Public Law 90-389 (Bank Protection Act of 1968), or amendments thereto.

“Burglar alarm system” refers to an alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the premises protected by the system.

“Central station” means any facility, central station, modified central station or answering service operated by any person engaged in the occupation of selling, renting, leasing, installing, maintaining, operating or repairing an alarm system, which facility is manned at all times by operators employed to receive, record and validate alarm signals transmitted to such facility and to relay information about such signals to the police department by a direct telephone line.

“Direct connection” means an alarm system which has the capability of transmitting system signals to and receiving them at an agency maintained by the city; for example, a police communication center.

“Direct line” means a telephone line leading from a central station to the communication center of the police department that is for use only to report emergency signals on a person-to-person basis.

“False alarm” means an alarm signal eliciting a response by the police where an emergency situation does not in fact exist, but does not include an alarm caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business operator or alarm user.

“Holdup alarm system” refers to an alarm system signaling a robbery or an attempted robbery.

“Interconnect” means to connect an alarm system to a voice grade telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a standard telephone, for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit an emergency message upon the activation of the alarm system.

“Local alarm system” means a signaling system which when activated causes an audible or visual signaling device to be activated in or on the premises within which the system is installed.

“Modified central station” means an office to which remote alarm and supervisory signaling devices are connected, where operators supervise the circuits. Such modified central stations are not listed by Underwriters’ Laboratories.

“Person” means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind. It does not, however, include a governmental agency.

“Police” or “police department” means the publicly supported police department of the city, or any authorized agent thereof.

“Police chief” means the chief of police of the city, or a designated representative.

“Primary trunk line” means a telephone line leading directly into the communication center of the police department that is for the purpose of handling emergency calls on a person-to-person basis, and which is identified as such as a specific number included among the emergency numbers listed in the telephone directory issued by the telephone company and covering the service area within the police department jurisdiction.

“Proprietary system” means an alarm system sounding or recording alarm and supervisory signals to a control center located within the protected premises, the control center being under the supervision of the proprietor of the premises. If a proprietary system includes a signal line connected directly or by means of any automatic dialing device to a police communication center, a central station, modified central station or answering service, it thereby becomes an alarm system.

“Remote signaling system” means an alarm signaling system which when activated by an alarm device transmits a signal from an alarm signaling device to a central location, other than the police department, where appropriate action is taken to investigate and respond to the signal.

“Shall” is always mandatory, not merely directory.

“Signal line” means the transmission line through which the signal passes from one of the elements of the signal transmission to another.

“Special trunk line” means a telephone line leading into the communication center of the police department and having the primary purpose of handling emergency signals or messages originating either directly or through a central location from automatic dialing devices.

“Telephone company” means the utility that furnishes telephone services to the city. (Code 1981 § 34-141. Code 1995 § 62-91.)

    Cross References: Definitions generally, TMC 1.10.020.

8.05.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide minimum standards and regulations applicable to burglar and holdup alarm systems, and alarm users. (Code 1981 § 34-140. Code 1995 § 62-92.)

8.05.030 Inspection.

For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter, the police chief shall have the authority, at reasonable times and upon reasonable oral notice, to enter into the premises in the city in or upon which alarm systems or alarm businesses subject to this chapter are located to inspect the installation or operation of such alarm systems or alarm businesses on official police business. (Code 1981 § 34-147. Code 1995 § 62-93.)

8.05.040 Testing equipment.

No alarm system designed to transmit its emergency message directly to the police department shall be tested or demonstrated without first obtaining permission from the police chief. Permission is not required to test or demonstrate alarm devices not transmitting emergency messages directly to the police department unless the messages are to be relayed to the police department. (Code 1981 § 34-148. Code 1995 § 62-94.)

8.05.050 Notice of disruption of service.

When an alarm business’ service to subscribers is disrupted for any reason by the alarm business, or the alarm business becomes aware of such disruption, it shall promptly notify its subscriber by telephone that protection is no longer being provided. If, however, the alarm business has written instructions from its subscriber not to make such notification by telephone during certain hours, the alarm business may comply with such instructions. (Code 1981 § 34-149. Code 1995 § 62-95.)

8.05.060 Direct connections to police department.

Upon the favorable recommendation of the police chief and the approval of the council, alarms from government agencies and financial institutions may be terminated in the police department. No other alarms may terminate in the police department. (Code 1981 § 34-150. Code 1995 § 62-96.)

    Cross References: City council – mayor, Chapter 2.15 TMC.

8.05.070 False alarms.

(a) “False alarm” shall be defined as an alarm signal eliciting a response by the police where an emergency situation does not in fact exist.

(b) Alarm users shall not be assessed any service charge for false alarms caused by interruption or failure of the service provided by public utilities, electrical or electronic interruption or interference, acts of God, sonic booms, or traffic accidents.

(c) There shall be a grace period of six months from the date of the initial installation. For each false alarm not within the grace period, there shall be a service charge imposed of $25.00 per false alarm. Only the first four false alarms shall be deemed within the grace period even if otherwise covered by the grace period. Following the grace period, alarm system users shall not be assessed a fine for the first two false alarms in any one calendar year. For purposes of implementing this section, calendar year shall be deemed to be the remainder of 1994 following the effective date of this section and thereafter calendar years shall be deemed to be January 1st through December 31st.

(d) A service charge shall be paid by the alarm user to the city for each false alarm not otherwise exempted by this section. The proceeds from such false alarm service charges shall be deposited to the general fund of the city.

(e) Any service charge assessed pursuant to this section may, upon request of the alarm user, be reviewed by the police department in accordance with such review procedures as the chief of police may prescribe. (Ord. 16739 § 1, 8-23-94; Ord. 16465 § 1(34-145), 6-9-92. Code 1995 § 62-97.)

8.05.080 Flashing lights required for certain buildings.

All alarmed buildings not connected to a central station, a modified central station, or a licensed answering service shall be equipped with an external blue flashing light. Such light shall be of a type and quality specified by the police department to aid police helicopter and ground units in finding the alarm location. (Ord. 16739 § 2, 8-23-94; Ord. 16465 § 2, 6-9-92. Code 1995 § 62-98.)

8.05.090 Direct connection to TECOM.

(a) All alarms directly connected to TECOM as the date of the publication of this section shall be disconnected no later than March 1, 1993.

(b) No alarms shall be directly connected to TECOM other than those so connected as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section. (Ord. 16739 § 3, 8-23-94; Ord. 16465 § 3, 6-9-92. Code 1995 § 62-99.)

Article II. Automatic Dialing Devices

8.05.100 Interconnection to primary trunk line.

(a) No automatic dialing device shall be interconnected to a primary trunk line.

(b) Automatic dialing devices designed to transmit signals directly to the police department are prohibited for any but governmental agencies. Such automatic dialing devices may be interconnected to a special trunk line into the police department. Before such a device is interconnected to a special trunk line, the person performing this operation shall first obtain instructions from the police department concerning the procedure to be followed. The police department shall designate the number to be used for this purpose.

(c) The owner or lessee of any automatic dialing device which is allowed to be connected to a special trunk line transmitting directly into the police department shall pay all telephone company charges connected therewith. (Code 1981 § 34-142. Code 1995 § 62-111.)

8.05.110 Intermediary service.

(a) Persons owning or leasing an automatic dialing device may have the device interconnected to a telephone line transmitting directly to:

(1) A central station;

(2) A modified central station; or

(3) A licensed answering service.

(b) Relaying of messages by intermediate services to the police department shall be over a special trunk line, except that central stations may relay messages over a direct line. All telephone charges involved shall be paid by such intermediate services or central stations.

(c) Automatic dialing devices may be interconnected to one or more telephone numbers available to the owner or lessee of the devices, or their designated representative, at another location.

(d) This section shall apply only to those automatic dialing devices interconnected to the communications center in the police department, other municipal offices or to telephone company operators. (Code 1981 § 34-143. Code 1995 § 62-112.)

8.05.120 Standards.

Automatic dialing devices installed on any premises in the city which are interconnected to a special trunk line transmitting signals into the police department, or to a telephone line directly serviced by an intermediate service that will be responded to by members of the police department, shall meet the following standards as determined by the chief of police:

(a) The contents of the recorded message to be transmitted by such device must be intelligible and in a format approved by the police chief as appropriate for the type of emergency being reported.

(b) Upon a single stimulus of the alarm device, an automatic dialing device may place two separate calls to the police department via the special trunk line. No such call shall be longer than one minute in duration. There must be at least three minutes between the completion of the first call and the initiation of the second, and the second call must be clearly identified as a second call.

(c) Messages transmitted during such second calls, stating the location and nature of the alarm condition, shall not exceed 30 seconds in length.

(d) The time gap between delivery of messages must be less than five seconds.

(e) All such devices shall be capable of transmitting an emergency message to two or more separate locations, so that upon activation any message may be sent not only on a special trunk line or telephone line serviced directly by telephone operators, but also to a location where an authorized person could be available to respond to the emergency message, and to open the premises on which the device is installed.

(f) The sensory apparatus and hardware comprising such devices shall be maintained by the owner or lessee in such physical condition that false alarms will be minimal. (Code 1981 § 34-144. Code 1995 § 62-113.)