Chapter 8.36


8.36.010    Findings and purpose.

8.36.020    Definitions.

8.36.030    Limitation on automatic telephone dialing devices.

8.36.040    Backup power supply.

8.36.050    Alarm tests.

8.36.060    False alarm service charges.

8.36.010 Findings and purpose.

The city council finds and declares that:

A. There are a substantial number of alarms indicating possible criminal activity that come into the Brewster police department. It is the policy and practice of the Brewster police department to respond to all alarms whether genuine or false. Most alarms are false, and are the result of improper maintenance or improper or careless use of an alarm system.

B. False alarms needlessly divert limited law enforcement resources from genuine alarms and other emergencies. City law enforcement officers responding to false alarms are not available to carry out other law enforcement duties in and throughout the city. In the interest of using limited law enforcement resources most effectively, the number of false alarms can and must be reduced.

C. The purpose of this chapter is to reduce the dangers and diversions of false alarms and to encourage alarm users to maintain their alarm systems in good working order and to use them properly thereby conserving law enforcement personnel time and increasing protection for all citizens of the city. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)

8.36.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the words and terms used herein shall be defined as follows:

A. “Alarm business” means any person or entity operating for any consideration who is engaged in the installation, maintenance, alteration or servicing of alarm systems or who responds to such alarm systems.

B. “Alarm system” means an assembly of equipment and devices arranged to signal the presence of any condition upon premises within the city of Brewster to which law enforcement normally responds. The term “alarm system” shall include equipment that is designed to detect an emergency, or that is designed to be activated by a person to report an emergency. Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, local alarm systems, direct connection alarm systems, central station alarm systems and automatic telephone dialing alarm systems. Alarm systems shall not include audible alarms affixed to automobiles.

C. “Alarm user” means any person or entity that owns, leases, is the agent of the owner or lessee (tenant) of, or otherwise is in possession or control of premises on which an alarm system has been installed and operates.

D. “Audible alarm system” means an alarm system that is capable of being heard outdoors when it is activated.

E. “Automatic telephone dialing alarm system” means an alarm system that utilizes a device that automatically transmits a pre-recorded message over telephone lines to a number in the city’s communications center.

F. “Central station alarm system” means an alarm system that transmits the alarm signal to a facility where operators monitor the system and retransmit the signal to the city’s communications center.

G. “Direct connection alarm system” means an alarm system that transmits an alarm signal directly to the city’s communications center.

H. “False alarm” means an alarm signal resulting in a response by law enforcement when an emergency does not exist. An alarm shall be presumed false if the responding officer(s) do not locate any evidence of an intrusion or of the commission of an unlawful act or emergency on the premises that might have caused the alarm to sound. Alarms caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other “violent” acts of nature shall not be deemed false alarms.

I. “Local alarm system” means an alarm system that is operated by the user who is normally responsible for its operation. The alarm signal is annunciated only on the premises.

J. “Person” means and includes an individual, partnership, unincorporated association, company, or corporation.

K. “Premises” means any land and building located within the city except land or buildings owned or leased by the federal government, state of Washington or any political subdivision of the state, or by any municipal corporation or special district. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)

8.36.030 Limitation on automatic telephone dialing devices.

It shall be unlawful for automatic telephone dialing alarm systems or other automatic telephone dialing devices to dial any phone number of the city of Brewster. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)

8.36.040 Backup power supply.

Any alarm system shall be supplied with an uninterrupted power supply in such a manner that the failure or interruption of the normal electric utility service will not activate the alarm system. If interruption of the normal electrical service does not activate the alarm a backup power supply is not required. The backup power supply must be capable of at least four hours of operation or the alarm system must shut off when the power supply is disrupted. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)

8.36.050 Alarm tests.

An alarm user or alarm business shall notify by verbally talking to a person in the local emergency dispatch agency, or the administrative office of the Brewster police department, of the intent to test or otherwise activate an alarm system. A verbal message left on a recorder or a written notice is not sufficient. The notification must be provided at least one hour prior to any service, test, repair, maintenance, adjustment, installation, or activation of an alarm system which would normally result in a law enforcement response. Any alarm activated, where such prior notice has been given, shall not constitute a false alarm. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)

8.36.060 False alarm service charges.

A. There is a service charge imposed upon every alarm user whose alarm system causes four or more false alarms within a twelve-month period. A separate service charge shall be imposed for each false alarm in excess of three as set forth by resolution of the city council from time to time; provided, that the alarm user is given written notice of each false alarm by United States mail or personal delivery. The service charges imposed for repeated false alarms shall be progressive for each twelve-month period commencing with the first false alarm.

B. Service charges shall be due and payable and are delinquent after thirty days of the mailing of a bill or notification from the city. Penalties for delinquency in remittance of any service charge or any deficiency in remittance shall attach and be paid by the person required to remit at the rate of ten percent each month on the base false alarm service charge, but such penalty shall not be compounded.

C. All service charges and penalties levied pursuant to this chapter shall constitute a valid debt owed to the city and against the alarm user for whom services were rendered. If the amount remains unpaid, a civil legal action may be filed with a court with jurisdiction for the service charges amount due together with any penalties, any related charges and fees accrued due to nonpayment and all fees and charges required to file and pursue such civil legal action, including reasonable attorneys fees and costs.

D. An alarm user may appeal any alarm service charge or penalty imposed under this section by submitting a letter of appeal to the chief of police explaining the basis for the appeal within fifteen days of the mailing of the bill or notification for that service charge. The chief of police shall promptly forward the notice of appeal to the mayor. While the appeal is pending, the bill shall not be due and payable. An administrative hearing on the appeal shall be set before the mayor, which hearing must be conducted within fifteen days after receipt of the letter of appeal by the chief of police. Failure to file a timely letter of appeal shall be a waiver of the alarm user’s right to a hearing and the city’s bill or notification shall be final and binding on the alarm user. At the time and place set for the hearing upon the appeal, the mayor shall hear evidence as to whether the alarm service charge should be imposed in whole, reduced, or not imposed. The burden of proof shall be upon the appellant to show that there was no substantial evidence that the alarm service charge was properly imposed as provided in this chapter. Within seven days after the conclusion of the hearing, the mayor shall render a written decision on the appeal. The decision shall be final and binding on the appellant, unless appealed as further set forth herein. Notification of the mayor’s decision shall be mailed to the appellant within five days of the decision. The notification shall inform the alarm user of the exact date that the alarm service charge shall become due and payable, which date shall in no event be twenty-one days after notice of the decision has been mailed. Any appeal of the mayor’s decision must be filed in the Okanogan superior court and served on the city clerk-treasurer’s office within twenty-one calendar days of the date of the decision. Failure to timely file and serve an appeal of the mayor’s decision will result in the decision being final and binding on the alarm user. (Ord. 841 § 1 (part), 2012)