Chapter 9.15
FALSE ALARMS

Sections:

9.15.010    Purpose.

9.15.020    Definitions.

9.15.030    Alarm user contact card registration required.

9.15.040    Exceptions.

9.15.050    Service charges for excessive false alarms.

9.15.060    No response to excessive false alarms.

9.15.070    Additional duties of alarm user.

9.15.080    Alarm business duties.

9.15.090    Nonpermitted systems and uses.

9.15.100    Special registrations.

9.15.110    Appeals.

9.15.010 Purpose.

It is the intent of this chapter to reduce the number of false alarms occurring within the City and the resultant waste of City resources by providing for corrective administrative action, including the imposition of fees, potential disconnection and/or civil penalties. [Ord. 98-0044 § 1.]

9.15.020 Definitions.

Unless the context or subject matter clearly otherwise requires, terms defined herein shall have the following meanings when used in this chapter:

A. “Alarm business” means the business of selling, leasing, maintaining, monitoring, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system on real property.

B. “Alarm system” means any system, device or mechanism which, when activated, transmits a telephone signal to a private monitoring company or some other entity, or emits an audible or visible signal that can be heard or seen by persons outside the protected premises, or transmits a signal beyond the premises in some other fashion, except any system, device or mechanism primarily protecting a motor vehicle, or any medical alarm.

C. “Alarm user” means the person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind to whom a registration is required under this chapter.

D. “Automatic dialing device” means a device that is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to select a predetermined telephone number and transmit by voice message or code signal an emergency message indicating a need for emergency response.

E. “Burglary alarm system” means an alarm system designed or used for detection and reporting of an unauthorized entry or attempted unauthorized entry upon real property protected by the system.

F. “Chief” means the chief of police for the City of Kenmore.

G. “City” means the City of Kenmore.

H. “Contact card” means a registration of authorized persons designated by the alarm user to respond, access the establishment and correct, reset, or shut off the alarm.

I. “Contact card registration year” means July 1st to and including the following June 30th.

J. “Department” means the Kenmore police department.

K. “False alarm” means the activation of any burglary alarm system when no crime is being committed or attempted on the premises. An alarm shall be presumed to be false if the police officers responding do not locate any evidence of an intrusion or commission of an unlawful act or emergency on the premises that might have caused the alarm to sound, but does not include alarms caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business operator or alarm user.

L. “Interconnect” means to connect an alarm system including an automatic dialing device to a telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a telephone for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit a message upon activation of the alarm system.

M. “No response” means police officers shall not be dispatched to investigate a report of an alarm signal.

N. “Panic/trouble alarm” means an alarm system designated or used for alerting police of the need for immediate assistance or aid in order to avoid injury or serious bodily harm.

O. “Premises” means any area and any portion of any area protected by an alarm system.

P. “Response” means a response that occurs when the police department begins to proceed toward the premises as a result of the activation of any alarm system.

Q. “Robbery alarm systems” means an alarm system designed or used for alerting others of a robbery or other crime in progress, which involves potential serious bodily injury or death.

R. “Sheriff” means the King County sheriff or his/her designee.

S. “System subscriber” means the person, corporation, firm, partnership, association, company, organization or other business entity who purchased or contracted for any alarm system.

T. “Verification” means an independent method of determining that a signal from an automatic alarm system reflects a need for immediate police assistance or investigation. [Ord. 98-0044 § 2.]

9.15.030 Alarm user contact card registration required.

A. After June 30, 1999, no person shall operate or use an alarm system on any premises within the City, under that person’s control, without first having obtained from the city clerk’s office a separate contact card registration for each premises protected by an alarm system.

B. The City’s police may not respond to any alarm system for which a contact card has not first been obtained and completed.

C. For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to be an operator or user of an alarm system if:

1. The person controls both the alarm system and the premises upon which it is installed;

2. The person controls the premises and is the subscriber, client or tenant of the system subscriber; or

3. The person is the system subscriber or alarm user.

D. Information required to be provided on the contact card registration form includes, but is not limited to:

1. Subscriber’s and/or alarm user’s name, address and telephone number(s);

2. Names and telephone numbers of three additional persons who will respond in the event of alarm activation in the absence of the alarm user and said person will provide access to premises and be able to deactivate alarm, or said persons will provide information on who to contact for access; and

3. Name of the alarm business responsible for regular maintenance and that company’s electrical contractor’s license number.

E. Failure to complete the required information will result in automatic denial of the contact card.

F. Contact cards shall not be transferable.

G. Completed applications for an alarm user’s contact card registration shall be filed with the city clerk’s office.

H. Any person who owns, operates, or possesses any alarm system within the City, which does not conform to the requirements of this chapter, shall disconnect that alarm and render it inoperable or alter it in accordance with this chapter no later than July 31, 1999.

I. Alarm users shall notify the city clerk’s office within 10 days, of any change of information from that contained on the contact card. [Ord. 98-0044 § 3.]

9.15.040 Exceptions.

This chapter shall not be construed to apply to persons duly authorized to test or activate an alarm when such may be deemed proper by the chief. [Ord. 98-0044 § 4.]

9.15.050 Service charges for excessive false alarms.

A. Service charges will be assessed by the city clerk’s office for excessive false alarms during any registration year in an amount imposed by the city council by resolution.

B. The city clerk’s office shall notify the alarm user and the alarm business by regular mail of the fourth false alarm, the fine and the consequences of the failure to pay the fine. [Ord. 02-0139 § 1; Ord. 98-0044 § 5.]

9.15.060 No response to excessive false alarms.

After the sixth false alarm in any six consecutive month period, the chief or his/her designee shall send a notification to the alarm user by mail, which will contains the following:

A. That the sixth false alarm has occurred;

B. That if any additional false alarms occur within the remainder of the six-month period, the police may not respond to any subsequent alarms;

C. That the alarm user may apply in writing for reinstatement. The chief or his/her designee may reinstate the alarm user upon a finding that reasonable effort has been made to correct the false alarms which includes consideration of a letter from user’s alarm company, which states the alarm system is operating properly and the alarm user’s agents are properly trained in the alarm system operation. The City shall not be responsible for any costs incurred by the user to qualify for reinstatement; and

D. That reinstated alarm users will be billed for any false alarm responses after reinstatement, and will be subject to further revocation after any more false alarm responses during the remainder of the registration year. Alarm user will not be reinstated if there are any outstanding fees or service charges due. [Ord. 98-0044 § 6.]

9.15.070 Additional duties of alarm user.

A. The premises shall display the registration decal at or near the main entrance, which shall be clearly visible and readable from the exterior of the premises.

B. The premises shall display the street address at or near the front of the premises and at other places where access is available, such as from an alley or parking lot. The street address shall be clearly visible and readable from the exterior of the premises.

C. If requested to do so by the chief, the alarm user or his or her designee shall respond to a premises following activation of an alarm system for which a contact call has been issued within a reasonable time, and in any event, within one hour after said notification. [Ord. 98-0044 § 7.]

9.15.080 Alarm business duties.

Every alarm system monitoring company engaging in business activities in the City shall:

A. Submit standard user form instructions to the chief’s office. If the chief’s office finds the instructions are unclear or inadequate, the chief may require the alarm business to revise the instructions to comply with KMC 9.15.060 and then to distribute the revised instructions to its alarm users.

B. Provide the chief’s office information about the nature of its alarms, its method of monitoring, its program for preventing false alarms, and its method of disconnecting audible alarms.

C. Furnish the alarm user with instructions that provide information to enable the user to operate the alarm system properly and information on how to obtain service for the alarm system at any time. The alarm business shall also inform each alarm user of the requirements to obtain a contact card and where it can be obtained.

D. Establish a process for alarm verification. The verification process shall not take more than five minutes, calculated from the time that the alarm signal has been accepted by the alarm business monitoring the system until a decision is made whether to call for a police dispatch. The means of verification may include one or more of the following:

1. The establishment of voice communication with an authorized person at or near the premises who may indicate whether or not need for immediate police assistance or investigation exists;

2. A feature that permits the alarm system user or a person authorized by the user to send a special signal to the alarm system monitoring company that will cancel an alarm immediately after it has been sent and prevent the monitoring company calling for a police dispatch;

3. The installation of a video system that provides the alarm system monitoring company when the signal is received with the ability to ascertain that activity is occurring which warrants immediate police assistance or investigation;

4. A confirmation that a signal reflects a need for immediate police assistance or investigation either by the alarm user, or a person at or near the premises before dispatching police; or

5. An alternate system that the chief determines has, or is likely to have, a high degree or reliability.

E. Coordinate with the chief’s office to develop a process to cancel an alarm dispatch that is consistent with the communication center’s standard operating procedures.

F. Provide the chief’s office when requesting an alarm response with the registration number for that premises, and the police need not respond if the registration number is not provided. [Ord. 98-0044 § 8.]

9.15.090 Nonpermitted systems and uses.

A. No person shall operate or use an alarm system which emits an audible sound where such emission does not automatically cease within 15 minutes. Nothing in this section shall limit the duration of a fire or other evacuation alarm during a bona fide emergency.

B. No person shall use an alarm system to protect more than one business and/or private residence without completing a separate contact card registration for each business and/or private residence to be protected.

C. No person shall operate or use any alarm system for which the contact card registration has been revoked.

D. No person shall operate or use any alarm system which automatically dials the department or City directly and delivers a prerecorded message. [Ord. 98-0044 § 9.]

9.15.100 Special registrations.

A. An alarm user required by federal or State law, regulation, rule or ordinance to install, maintain and operate an alarm system shall be subject to the alarm system regulations of this chapter, provided:

1. The contact card shall designate the special alarm user’s status.

2. A special alarm user’s contact card for a system that has false alarms during a six-month period shall not be subject to the no response procedure and shall pay the penalty fees and service charges.

B. An alarm user that is a governmental political unit shall be subject to this chapter, but shall not be subject to service charges or the imposition of any penalty provided herein. [Ord. 98-0044 § 10.]

9.15.110 Appeals.

An alarm user may appeal the validity of a false alarm determination to the City’s hearing examiner pursuant to City ordinance. [Ord. 98-0044 § 11.]