Chapter 16.46
SECURITY ALARM SYSTEMS Revised 5/19

16.46.000    Chapter Contents

Sections:

16.46.010    Purpose. Revised 5/19

16.46.011    Definitions. Revised 5/19

16.46.020    Administration and funding. Revised 5/19

16.46.030    Security alarm sites must be registered. Revised 5/19

16.46.031    Registration terms and fees. Revised 5/19

16.46.032    Responsibilities of alarm users. Revised 5/19

16.46.040    Only licensed security alarm monitoring businesses may initiate alarm dispatch requests. Revised 5/19

16.46.050    Verified response required in certain circumstances. Revised 5/19

16.46.060    Differentiation and reporting of alarm activations. Revised 5/19

16.46.070    Alarm dispatch requests. Revised 5/19

16.46.071    Compliance with monitoring standards required. Revised 5/19

16.46.080    Alarm dispatch request cancellations. Revised 5/19

16.46.090    Prohibited devices. Revised 5/19

16.46.100    Violations. Revised 5/19

16.46.110    Appropriating public police services for private purposes subject to service fees. Revised 5/19

16.46.120    Fees for appropriating public police services for private purposes. Revised 5/19

16.46.130    Authorization to issue citations and assess service fees. Revised 5/19

16.46.140    Fee processing. Revised 5/19

16.46.150    Suspension and revocation of registration. Revised 5/19

16.46.160    False alarm awareness classes. Revised 5/19

16.46.170    Appeals. Revised 5/19

16.46.171    Authority of Alarm Appeal Officer. Revised 5/19

16.46.172    Alarm Appeals Officer selection. Revised 5/19

16.46.173    Qualification and removal. Revised 5/19

16.46.174    Improper influence, conflict of interest, and appearance of fairness. Revised 5/19

16.46.175    Organization, rules. Revised 5/19

16.46.180    Exceptions. Revised 5/19

16.46.181    Special rules applicable to public schools. Revised 5/19

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.010 Purpose Revised 5/19

To assure that responses to false alarms do not diminish the availability of police services to the general public and to assure that citizens who cannot afford or do not choose to operate security alarm systems are not penalized for their condition or choice, the City regulates alarm businesses, including security alarm monitoring businesses. (See OMC Section 5.55.)

The intent of this Chapter is to encourage security alarm monitoring businesses and alarm users to maintain the operational viability of security alarm systems and to significantly reduce or eliminate false alarm dispatch requests made to the Department.

The purpose of the Chapter is to provide for and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the general public, not to protect individuals or create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially benefited by the terms of this Chapter. The Chapter does not impose or create duties on the part of the City or any of its departments, and the obligation of complying with the requirements of this Chapter, and any liability for failing to do so, is placed solely upon the parties responsible for owning, operating, using, monitoring, installing, or maintaining security alarm systems.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.011 Definitions Revised 5/19

A.    Alarm Administrator means the person designated by the Chief of Police to administer the City’s security alarm program and to issue citations and levy fees pursuant to this Chapter.

B.    Alarm Appeals Officer means the person(s) designated by the Chief of Police to hear and decide appeals related to service fees and registration suspensions and revocations pursuant to this Chapter.

C.    Alarm business means any person (as defined in this section) engaged in the selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, installing, or responding to security alarms, including security alarm monitoring business (as defined in this section). A person doing installation or repair work solely on premises such person owns, leases, or rents, where such work is performed without compensation of any kind (i.e., "do-it-yourselfers"), is not an alarm business.

D.    Alarm dispatch request means the initiating of a communication to the police, via the regional communications agency (TCOMM), by a security alarm monitoring business indicating that an alarm system has been activated at a particular security alarm site and requesting Department response to that security alarm site.

E.    Security alarm site means a structure or portion thereof served by a single security alarm system (a "fixed" security alarm site). In a multi-tenant building or complex, each portion of the structure or complex having its own security alarm system is considered a separate security alarm site.

F.    Security alarm system means a device or series of interconnected devices, including, but not limited to, systems interconnected with hard wiring or radio frequency signals, which are designed to emit or transmit a remote or local audible, visual, or electronic signal indicating that an intrusion may either be in progress or is being attempted at the security alarm site. It means only the equipment located at the security alarm site when a system is connected to a security alarm system monitoring company. Security alarm systems do not include those devices designed to alert only the inhabitants of specific premises and that have no sounding or signaling devices that can be generally heard or seen on the exterior of the security alarm site.

G.    Alarm user means any person (as defined in this section) who controls a security alarm system at a security alarm site; who is named on the alarm registration; and who is financially responsible for the operation of an alarm system. The term "alarm user" may mean more than one person, if more than one person is listed on the registration and has accepted financial responsibility for operation of an alarm system.

H.    Burglary alarm means a security alarm system that is used to detect and report unauthorized entry or attempted unauthorized entry upon real property. Burglary alarm is synonymous with “property alarm” and “intrusion alarm.”

I.    Call-up dialer alarm means a security device that is designed to evoke a police response by transmitting a pre-recorded, unverified signal or message to the police E911 system or to any other police telephone.

J.    Chief of Police means the Chief of Police of the City of Olympia or the Chief of Police’s designee.

K.    City means the City of Olympia.

L.    Control number means the unique number assigned to each licensed security alarm monitoring business by the Alarm Administrator that is used to validate alarm dispatch requests.

M.    Department means the Olympia Police Department.

N.    False alarm response means response to an alarm dispatch request by an officer of the Department where, in the opinion of that officer, no evidence of the commission or attempted commission of a crime is present that can be reasonably attributed to the alarm activation. A false alarm response also occurs when the responding officer is unable to determine if evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense is present because the security alarm site is inaccessible (e.g., where the security alarm site is located within a locked structure - such as an apartment building or business complex with a common entry - or is located behind a locked gate and no person is present to provide access to the officer; or where the security alarm site contains a dog and no person is present to remove the dog so the officer can inspect the site; or where the security alarm site contains any type of protective/reactive alarm system).

O.    Monitoring means the process a security alarm monitoring business uses to keep watch on security alarm systems; to receive alarm activation signals from security alarm systems; to verify alarm activations; to relay alarm dispatch requests to TCOMM for the purpose of summoning police response to a security alarm site; and to cancel alarm dispatch requests (when appropriate).

P.    Multi-unit complex means any building or group of buildings located or co-located on the same real property and including two or more separately occupied units.

Q.    One-plus duress alarm means a security alarm system that permits the manual activation of an alarm signal by entering on a keypad a code that either adds the value of 1 to the last digit of a normal arm/disarm code (e.g., the normal arm/disarm code "1234," if entered as "1235" automatically activates the duress alarm feature) or that involves entering any incorrect final digit to a normal arm/disarm code (e.g., the normal arm/disarm code "1234" is entered as "123X" - where X is not 4 - automatically activates the duress alarm feature).

R.    Person, for purposes of this Chapter, means an individual and a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, organization, or similar entity.

S.    Protective/reactive alarm system means an alarm system that is rigged to produce a temporary disability or sensory deprivation through use of chemical, electrical, or sonic defense, or by any other means, including use of vision obscuring or disabling devices.

T.    Revoke (revocation) means the permanent loss (for an alarm user) of the privileges associated with the registering a security alarm system in the City.

U.    Robbery alarm means a component of a security alarm system consisting of an alarm signal generated by the manual or automatic activation of a device, or any system, device, or mechanism on or near the premises intended to signal that a robbery (as defined by RCW 9A.56.190) or other crime is in progress, and that one or more persons are in need of immediate police assistance in order to avoid injury, serious bodily harm, or death at the hands of the perpetrator of the robbery or other crime. “Robbery alarm” is synonymous with “duress alarm,” “hold-up alarm,” and “panic alarm.”

V.    Security alarm monitoring business means any person (as defined in this section) who is engaged in the monitoring of security alarm systems and the summoning of police response to activations thereof, including units or divisions of larger businesses or organizations that provide proprietary security alarm monitoring services only to affiliates of the parent business or organization.

W.    Subscriber means an alarm user who is a customer of a security alarm monitoring business.

X.    Suspend (suspension) means the temporary loss (for an alarm user) of the privileges associated with the registration of a security alarm system in the City.

Y.    TCOMM means Thurston County Communications, the regional 911 and dispatch center.

Z.    Unmonitored alarm system means a security alarm system that is not actively monitored by a security alarm monitoring business the function of which is to evoke police response solely by means of a generally audible or visible signal.

AA.    Verified response (independent reporting) means a police response that is based on information received from a person physically present at a location (e.g., a security alarm site) or from real-time audio or video surveillance positively verifying that there is evidence either of a crime or an attempted crime at the location.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.020 Administration and funding Revised 5/19

A.    Responsibility for administration of this Chapter is vested with the Chief of Police.

B.    The Chief of Police designates an Alarm Administrator to carry out the duties and functions described in this Chapter.

C.    The Chief of Police designates one or more persons to serve as Alarm Appeals Officer(s) to carry out the duties and functions related to appeals described in this Chapter.

D.    Monies generated by false alarm service fees and registration fees assessed pursuant to this Chapter and OMC Chapter 5.55 must be dedicated for use by the Department directly for administration of the alarm program and for recovery of general police services lost to false alarm response.

E.    The Alarm Administrator shall conduct an annual evaluation and analysis of the effectiveness of this Chapter and identifies and implements system improvements, as warranted.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.030 Security alarm sites must be registered Revised 5/19

A.    Police response to security alarm sites in the City, except as specified in OMC 16.46.050, is a privilege available only to those alarm users who have security alarm systems registered with the City.

B.    No security alarm monitoring business providing monitoring service to security alarm sites in the City may activate security alarm monitoring service or initiate alarm dispatch requests for any security alarm site in the City that is not registered.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.031 Registration terms and fees Revised 5/19

A.    Security alarm registration is valid for one year from the date of registration.

B.    Security alarm registration is issued to a person or persons (the “alarm user") having bona fide ownership or control of a security alarm site (i.e., home owner, business owner, renter, leaseholder, etc.) and is issued specifically for that security alarm site. Security alarm registration remains in the name of the alarm user of record until a change of ownership or control of the security alarm site occurs.

C.    Security alarm registration is attached to both the alarm user and the security alarm site and is not transferable. A new security alarm registration must be issued whenever there is a change of ownership or control of a security alarm site.

D.    The initial registration application and required fees may be submitted to the Alarm Administrator (or designee) at any time.

E.    The alarm user shall provide verification of the alarm user’s receipt of the disclosure statement required in OMC section 5.55.070 along with the initial registration application. Receipt of such verification is a precondition of registration.

F.    The Alarm Administrator may determine required registration information which must include the following:

1.    The name and address of the alarm user;

2.    The home and business telephone number of the alarm user;

3.    The name, address, and telephone number of the security alarm monitoring business providing monitoring service to the system;

4.    An alternate telephone number for verification (cell phone or other telephone designated by the alarm user);

5.    The signature of the alarm user verifying that the alarm user has read and understands the City of Olympia public disclosure statement and agrees to pay the service fees associated with false alarms.

G.    On receipt of the application, fees, and verification of receipt of the disclosure statement, the Alarm Administrator (or designee) shall issue a security alarm registration number to the alarm user.

H.    The security alarm registration number assigned to an alarm user remains the same for as long as the alarm user continuously maintains registration for the security alarm site.

I.    Registration may be renewed under the following conditions:

1.    The security alarm site has no past due service fees.

2.    The security alarm site’s registration is not suspended for excessive false alarms.

3.    The security alarm site’s registration is not revoked.

4.    The alarm user either updates registration information or verifies that the current registration information is still correct.

5.    The applicable annual registration fee is paid.

J.    An alarm user shall submit renewal information and fees to the Alarm Administrator (or designee) on or before the initial registration anniversary date each year.

K.    The City Manager shall establish rates for security alarm registration fees.

1.    Registration fees may be graduated for different groups of users (e.g., residential, commercial, government, etc.)

2.    The established rates must assure that the Alarm Administrator position and all other costs related to administration and enforcement of the security alarm program are supported entirely by registration fees.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.032 Responsibilities of alarm users Revised 5/19

A.    Each alarm user is responsible for annually registering the alarm user’s security alarm system, paying the registration fee, and providing current registration information.

B.    Each alarm user is responsible for assuring that the alarm user’s security alarm system is used properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions and the law. Inherent in this responsibility is assuring that all persons with access to the security alarm site are properly trained on correct use of the security alarm system and are authorized to cancel accidental activations, and assuring that procedures and practices are followed that minimize the risk of false alarms.

C.    Each alarm user shall provide the alarm company with the permit number.

D.    Each alarm user shall respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm site within thirty (30) minutes when notified of an alarm activation.

E.    Each alarm shall keep the alarm user’s security alarm system properly maintained and in good working order.

F.    Each alarm user shall pay service fees when police respond to false alarms from the alarm user’s security alarm site. (See OMC 16.46.120)

G.    Failure to meet the responsibilities listed in 16.46.032(A) through (F) may lead to suspension or revocation of alarm registration and loss of the privileges associated with that registration.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.040 Only licensed security alarm monitoring businesses may initiate alarm dispatch requests Revised 5/19

The Department will respond only to alarm dispatch requests from security alarm monitoring businesses that possess a valid City security alarm license and control number, issued under OMC Chapter 5.55.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.050 Verified response required in certain circumstances Revised 5/19

A.    The Department will respond to the activation of unmonitored security alarm systems; to the activation of security alarm systems monitored by unlicensed security alarm monitoring businesses; to the activation of unregistered security alarm systems; and to the activation of security alarm systems with suspended or revoked registration only if independent reporting indicates that a crime is in progress or has been attempted at the involved security alarm site (i.e., a verified response).

B.    No alarm user or security alarm monitoring business may presume, anticipate, or expect that a police response will result solely from the activation of any unmonitored security alarm system; the activation of a security alarm system monitored by an unlicensed security alarm monitoring business; the activation of an unregistered security alarm system; or to the activation of a security alarm system with a suspended or revoked registration.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.060 Differentiation and reporting of alarm activations Revised 5/19

A.    No person may operate a security alarm system in the City that fails to differentiate burglary alarm activations from robbery alarm activations, or that fails to accurately report such activations independently.

B.    No person may operate a security alarm system in the City that fails to differentiate police incidents (i.e., burglary alarm activations and robbery alarm activations) from fire, medical, or other non-police incidents, or that fails to accurately report such incidents independently.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.070 Alarm dispatch requests Revised 5/19

A.    Alarm dispatch requests must be made in the manner prescribed by the Alarm Administrator and approved by TCOMM.

B.    Alarm dispatch requests may be required to include the following information:

1.    The security alarm site registration number;

2.    The location of the alarm activation;

3.    The type of alarm activation (i.e., burglary, robbery, or roll-over/airbag deployment);

4.    The security alarm monitoring business’ incident number (or other official incident identifier);

5.    The security alarm monitoring business’ assigned control number.

C.    Alarm dispatch requests must be for police incidents only, and must accurately indicate the type of alarm activation (i.e., burglary or robbery) that motivated the alarm dispatch request.

D.    Any security alarm monitoring business initiating an alarm dispatch request that would cause an employee of the City to respond to a security alarm site containing a protective/reactive alarm system shall fully inform and caution the TCOMM dispatcher at the time the initial request is made of the nature of the alarm system and the precautions the responding employee must take to avoid incurring injury or other ill effects from the system.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.071 Compliance with monitoring standards required1 Revised 5/19

All security alarm monitoring businesses engaged in monitoring security alarm systems in the City shall comply with the monitoring standards set forth in OMC section 5.55.060.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.080 Alarm dispatch request cancellations Revised 5/19

A.    An alarm dispatch request may be canceled by the security alarm monitoring business initiating the request at any time up to the point at which the responding police officer reports arrival at the security alarm site to the TCOMM dispatcher.

B.    Alarm dispatch requests may be canceled in accordance with the procedures established by the Alarm Administrator and approved by TCOMM only by the security alarm monitoring business making the original request.

C.    Alarm dispatch requests canceled in accordance with the procedures established by the Alarm Administrator and approved by TCOMM are not subject to false alarm service fees.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.090 Prohibited devices Revised 5/19

A.    No person may operate a security alarm system in the City that has a siren, bell, light, or other device audible or visible from any property adjacent to the security alarm site that signals for longer than five (5) consecutive minutes after the alarm is activated, or that repeats the five-minute alarm cycle more than three (3) consecutive times without resetting.

B.    No person may operate a one-plus duress alarm in the City.

C.    No person may operate a security alarm system in a multi-unit complex in the City that fails to identify alarm activations by the specific unit involved.

D.    No person may operate a call-up dialer alarm in the City.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.100 Violations Revised 5/19

A.    The following actions constitute unlawful use of a security alarm system:

1.    Any person who activates a security alarm system with the intent to report: a) suspicious circumstances; b) any non-criminal incident; or, c) a need for fire, medical, or other non-police services is guilty of a civil infraction.

2.    Any person who violates the provisions of OMC 16.46.060(A) or (B) or 16.46.090(A), (B), (C) or (D) is guilty of a civil infraction.

B.    Nothing in this section prevents the installation of a single reporting device for both burglary alarms and robbery alarms and fire alarms and medical alarms, provided that such device complies with OMC 16.46.060 and fire code requirements.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.110 Appropriating public police services for private purposes subject to service fees Revised 5/19

A.    Causing police to engage in a false alarm response constitutes appropriation of public police services for private purposes and is subject to a service fee.

B.    The alarm user is responsible for payment of any service fee.

C.    The assessment or payment of a service fee under this Chapter does not in any way establish the existence of a contract, real or implied, between the City and an alarm user or between the City and any other party.

D.    When, in the opinion of a responding officer, an alarm dispatch request can be reasonably associated with an actual or attempted criminal offense at the involved security alarm site, the alarm is valid and the response is considered a basic police service not subject to any service fee.

E.    When, in the opinion of a responding officer, an alarm dispatch request can be reasonably attributed to an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or other unusually violent act of nature, no service fee will be assessed.

F.    When, in the opinion of a responding officer, an alarm dispatch request cannot be reasonably attributed to the conditions described in 16.46.110(D) or (E), the incident is a false alarm and the response is considered an appropriation of public police services for private purposes that is subject to a service fee.

G.    When a responding officer is unable to determine if an alarm is valid or false because of inaccessibility of the security alarm site, the response is presumed to be a false alarm response, and is subject to a service fees. [see OMC 16.46.011(N)]

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.120 Fees for appropriating public police services for private purposes Revised 5/19

A.    The City Manager shall establish service fees for appropriating public police services for private purposes.

1.    Separate fees must be established for responses to false burglary alarms and false robbery alarms.

2.    The established fees must assure that the full cost of police response to false security alarms is recovered by the City.

B.    Service fees are assessed based on the response requested, regardless of the nature of the actual incident. An alarm dispatch request reporting a robbery alarm, for example, is subject to the false alarm penalty fee applicable to robbery false alarm responses, even if the alarm activation should properly have been reported as a burglary alarm.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.130 Authorization to issue citations and assess service fees Revised 5/19

A.    The Chief of Police shall grant the Alarm Administrator a special commission to issue citations pursuant to this Chapter.

B.    The Alarm Administrator is hereby authorized to assess service fees pursuant to 16.46.120.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.140 Fee processing Revised 5/19

A.    Security alarm monitoring businesses contracting with customers to provide monitoring services shall assure that alarm users of security alarm sites in the City complete initial registration forms and remit the required registration fee to the City (or its designee) prior to activation of monitoring service.

B.    The City may contract with a private vendor to process and bill service fees and registration fees.

C.    All fees are due and payable on receipt of invoice. Fees that are unpaid thirty (30) days or more after the date of invoice are considered past due for purposes of this Chapter.

D.    A late fee of $10 may be imposed on past due accounts to cover the cost of processing and collection.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.150 Suspension and revocation of registration Revised 5/19

A.    The Alarm Administrator shall suspend the alarm registration of any alarm user having more than three (3) false alarm responses in any one year period. Such suspension begins on the event of the fourth such incident and runs for ninety (90) days or the balance of the year for which the registration is valid, whichever is longer.

B.    The Alarm Administrator shall suspend the alarm registration of any alarm user having alarm service fees past due on January 1st of any year. Such suspension begins the first business day following January 1st and runs until all outstanding fees have been paid in full.

C.    The Alarm Administrator shall revoke the alarm registration of any alarm user having three (3) suspensions in any five (5) year period. Such revocation is effective on the event of the third suspension.

D.    Furnishing false information on an alarm registration application is prohibited.

1.    On the first offense, the Alarm Administrator shall suspend the alarm user’s registration for thirty (30) days.

2.    On the second offense, the Alarm Administrator shall revoke the alarm user’s registration.

E.    The Alarm Administrator shall notify an alarm user of a registration suspension or revocation involving that alarm user. Such notification must include a description of the basis for the suspension or revocation, the suspension starting and ending dates (when applicable) or revocation starting date (when applicable), and a description of appeal options and processes.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.160 False alarm awareness classes Revised 5/19

One time per security alarm site, an alarm user may complete a false alarm awareness class conducted by the Alarm Administrator in lieu of a registration suspension.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.170 Appeals Revised 5/19

A.    An alarm user may appeal the imposition of service fees, or a registration suspension or revocation, to the Alarm Appeals Officer, as follows:

1.    An alarm user initiates the appeal process by sending an appeal request, in the form of a letter to the Alarm Appeals Officer, requesting an appeal conference and specifying the reasons for the appeal. The appeal request must be received by the Alarm Appeals Officer within ten (10) business days after receipt of the service fee invoice or receipt of the notice of registration suspension or revocation.

2.    Imposition of a service fee may be appealed only on the ground that the incident cited as the basis for the imposition of a service fee was, in fact, not a false alarm response. The alarm user must, in the appeal request, describe credible evidence that the alarm user can present to the Alarm Appeals Officer that supports the contention that the involved incident was a valid alarm, as described in 16.46.110(D).

3.    Circumstances that are not grounds for appeal under this Chapter include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.    Instances involving accidental or unintentional alarm activation.

b.    Instances involving lack of knowledge of system operation or lack of training on system use.

c.    Instances involving "extenuating circumstances."

4.    In an instance in which allegedly inappropriate action by a security alarm monitoring business (such as making an alarm dispatch request in error, failing to properly adjust or test alarm equipment, or failing to properly cancel an alarm dispatch request) results in a service fee being imposed on an alarm user, the following rules apply:

a.    Imposition of a service fee resulting from a security alarm monitoring business error is not subject to appeal under this Chapter. Alarm users must seek redress for fees imposed in such situations from the security alarm monitoring business, not the City.

b.    An alarm user may appeal the determination that an incident was a false alarm for the purpose of establishing that the false alarm incident was caused by a security alarm monitoring business error.

If an alarm user who appeals under this subsection demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Alarm Appeals Officer, based on credible evidence, that a false alarm incident was caused solely by an alarm business error, such false alarm incident will not apply toward or be the cause of a registration suspension.

5.    The Alarm Appeals Officer may reject, without further process, an appeal request that is not supported by credible evidence. The Alarm Appeals Officer shall send written notice of rejection of an appeal request to the appellant within five (5) business days following receipt of the appeal request by the Alarm Appeals Officer.

6.    The filing of an appeal request stays any pending service fee or related service suspension or revocation until the Alarm Appeals Officer either rejects the appeal request, as described in 16.46.170(A)(5), or renders a final decision.

7.    The Alarm Appeals Officer shall conduct an appeal conference at a location within the City within fifteen (15) business days after receiving the appeal request.

8.    At the appeal conference, the Alarm Appeals Officer shall consider evidence presented by any interested person(s). The alarm user has the burden to establish, based on credible evidence, that facts that existed at the time of the incident, but were not considered by the officer, leads to the reasonable conclusion that the incident was a valid alarm, as described in 16.46.110(D). The Alarm Appeals Officer shall make the appeal decision based on the presence of such facts and conclusion.

9.    The Alarm Appeals Officer shall issue a written appeal decision and shall provide the alarm user and the Alarm Administrator a copy of the decision within ten (10) business days after the appeal conference is completed. The Alarm Appeals Officer may affirm, waive, cancel, or modify the service fee or action that is the subject of the appeal.

10.    If the Alarm Appeals Officer affirms or modifies the amount of a service fee due, that amount becomes immediately due and payable.

11.    Appeal decisions are reviewed and approved or rejected by the Chief of Police prior to becoming official. Once approved by the Chief of Police, the decision of the Alarm Appeals Officer is final, and no further appeals or remedies are available, except as provided by law.

B.    Violations that are civil infractions or misdemeanors under this Chapter are subject to the due process provisions of law available through the Olympia Municipal Court.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.171 Authority of Alarm Appeal Officer Revised 5/19

The following cases are within the jurisdiction of the Alarm Appeals Officer under this Chapter.

A.    Any and all false alarm appeals governed by this chapter.

B.    Alarm registration revocation or suspension of any system located within the City. Administration of service fees or fines related to or applicable to any security alarm system authorized by this Chapter.

C.    Any and all other administrative alarm appeals as they may pertain to security alarm systems located within the City, including appeals as set forth in OMC 5.55.090.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.172 Alarm Appeals Officer selection Revised 5/19

The Chief of Police shall select the Alarm Appeals Officer. The Alarm Appeals Officer may be retained on a professional service contract for a term and on conditions determined appropriate by the Chief of Police. Such contract may provide that the Alarm Appeals Officer may retain the services of experts to hold hearings as are needed to render aid and advice regarding technical or specialized issues that may be presented to the Alarm Appeals Officer. Such contract may also provide for Alarm Appeals Officers pro tem to serve in the absence of the Alarm Appeals Officer on such terms and conditions deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.173 Qualification and removal Revised 5/19

The Chief of Police shall appoint Alarm Appeals Officers solely based on their qualifications for the duties of their office and will have such training and experience as will qualify them to conduct administrative or quasi-judicial hearings on regulatory enactments and to discharge the other functions conferred upon them. The Alarm Appeals Officer may hold no other elective or appointive office or position with the City. The Alarm Appeals Officer may be removed from office for cause by the Chief of Police.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.174 Improper influence, conflict of interest, and appearance of fairness Revised 5/19

A.    No City official, elective or appointive, may attempt to influence the Alarm Appeals Officer in any matter officially before the Alarm Appeals Officer so as to constitute misconduct of a public office under RCW 42.20 or a violation of the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine.

B.    The Alarm Appeals Officer may conduct all proceedings in a manner to avoid conflicts of interest or other misconduct and to avoid violations of the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine. If such conflicts or violations cannot be avoided in a particular case, the Alarm Appeals Officer shall assign an Alarm Appeals Officer pro tem to act in the Alarm Appeals Officer’s absence.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.175 Organization, rules Revised 5/19

A.    The Office of the Alarm Appeals Officer is under the administrative supervision of the Alarm Appeals Officer and must be separate from the Olympia Police Department.

B.    The Alarm Appeals Officer is empowered to adopt rules for the scheduling and conduct of hearings and other procedural matters related to the duties of the office. Such rules may provide for cross examination of witnesses. Further, such rules must provide for recording of the proceedings and for compliance with the State, Federal, and City laws which may govern such a proceeding.

In rendering a decision, the Alarm Appeals Officer is hereby authorized to take judicial notice of all duly-adopted rules, ordinances, standards, plans, regulations, and policies of the City and other public agencies.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 7187 §3, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.180 Exceptions Revised 5/19

The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to temporary alarm systems used by the Department or other public law enforcement agencies for investigative or protective purposes (e.g., VARDA, WAVE, or similar systems).

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).

16.46.181 Special rules applicable to public schools Revised 5/19

A.    Public schools are subject to the following special rules:

1.    Security Alarm monitoring companies are exempt from making verification telephone calls, as required in OMC 5.55.060(A), to public school sites between the hours of 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays, and school holidays.

2.    Public schools are subject to the following service fee structure:

a.    Public schools are subject to annual registration rules, but are exempt from paying the annual registration fees applicable to government facilities, as described in OMC 16.46.031.

b.    No fee is charged for the first false alarm in any calendar year.

c.    The fee for the second false alarm in any calendar year is waived, provided the site administrator (or designee) attends the next available false alarm awareness class;

d.    The third and all subsequent false alarms in any calendar year are charged at the standard service fee rate.

3.    Public schools sites are exempt from registration suspension or revocation.

B.    To qualify for special rules and exemptions under this Section, a security alarm site must meet the following criteria:

1.    The site is located within the City limits; and

2.    The site is a public school serving children in one or more of grades K-12, owned and operated by Olympia School District 111; or

3.    The site is a public school site serving children in one or more of grades K-12, owned and operated by Educational Service District 113.

C.    The Alarm Administrator may make any other special rules and exceptions as are deemed necessary to assure that appropriate protection and accountability is maintained at public schools.

(Ord. 7189 §2, 2019; Ord. 6316 §2, 2004).


1

Ord. 7189 numbers this section 16.46.070; it has been editorially renumbered to avoid duplication of numbering.