Chapter 8.20


8.20.010    Definitions.

8.20.020    Application of chapter provisions.

8.20.030    Indemnity agreement.

8.20.040    Police alarms – Testing and monitoring.

8.20.050    Prohibited equipment.

8.20.060    Installation standards.

8.20.070    Business license and installer’s identification card.

8.20.080    Operator/subscriber permit requirements.

8.20.090    Permit revocation.

8.20.100    Permit reinstatement.

8.20.110    Excessive false alarms.

8.20.120    Violations and penalties.

8.20.010 Definitions.

A.    “Alarm system” means any system, device or mechanism which, when activated, transmits a message to a monitoring service center, either electronically or by voice, for the purpose of evoking a police response.

B.    “Burglary alarm” means a system designed or used for the detection and reporting of unauthorized entry upon real property.

C.    “Chief of police/sheriff” means chief of the Tumwater police department or the chief’s designee. The elected position of Thurston County sheriff or the sheriff’s designee.

D.    “False alarm” means the activation of said alarm by means other than for which the alarm is intended, including, but not limited to, alarm malfunctions, power failure and employee or subscriber error.

E.    “Robbery alarm” means a system designed or used to alert others of a robbery.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.020 Application of chapter provisions.

This chapter shall apply only to alarm systems or equipment designed to be monitored so as to convey to a monitoring service center, either electronically or by voice, a message for the purpose of evoking a police response. None of the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the installation or maintenance of alarms which are not so monitored.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.030 Indemnity agreement.

Any person, firm or corporation desiring to originate an alarm system to evoke a police response within the city shall first sign an indemnity agreement holding the city harmless from any liability involving the failure of any agency alarm, circuit or equipment or the discontinuance of emergency response actions ordered because of such failure.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.040 Police alarms – Testing and monitoring.

A.    Alarm testing shall be the responsibility of the subscriber and/or the alarm company. No alarm verifications will be conducted by the Tumwater police department.

B.    Alarm subscribers shall provide to their alarm monitoring service a notice of telephone numbers where persons authorized to enter the premises of the subscriber can be reached at all times so that one of said persons is able to respond to the premises within thirty minutes after being notified by the police to do so. If the subscriber fails to so respond to a location upon request by shift supervisor, further police responses may be terminated.

C.    Alarms shall not be activated to summon police for any purpose other than burglar alarms for burglaries and robbery alarms for robberies.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.050 Prohibited equipment.

A.    Proprietary alarm equipment designed to alert any municipal emergency service by providing unattended automatic dialing of any public telephone number of any municipal emergency service for the purpose of transmitting a prerecorded message is prohibited.

B.    Combination alarms designed to alert any municipal emergency service will not be allowed within the city unless there is a distinct separation in the transmittal of any specific alarm activation. For purposes of this section, combination alarms shall include but not be limited to devices combining burglary and fire alarms, devices combining burglary and holdup alarms, and devices combining burglary and trouble alarms.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.060 Installation standards.

All monitored alarm systems to summon police shall be installed in accordance with the ordinances and building codes of the city.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.070 Business license and installer’s identification card.

A.    All alarm companies who sell, install, service or maintain police alarm systems within the city must have a valid city business license.

B.    No persons shall install, service or maintain any police alarm systems within the city without first obtaining an identification card from the chief of police of the city, or with the chief’s approval from any other police agency within Thurston County which has, prior to the issuance of their identification card, conducted a criminal history check of the person.

C.    An initial identification card fee will be assessed upon application. A fee as established by resolution of the city council made payable to the city and an additional check or money order made payable to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, BCI, to cover background investigation through fingerprint processing. The card will be valid for five years from the date of issue. A change of employer shall invalidate the installer’s identification card.

D.    Renewal of the identification card may be made through application and payment of a fee to the city as established by resolution of the city council. If a criminal history check reveals that an applicant has been convicted of any felony or of any offense not constituting a felony but which because of its nature would render the installer a security risk in the opinion of the police chief, the identification card to install alarms will be denied and the application fee forfeited by applicant.

E.    Any card issued pursuant to this section may be revoked or suspended by the police chief upon conviction of any of the above offenses, after notice is given to the card holder and opportunity given to show cause why the revocation or suspension should not occur.

(Ord. O95-047, Amended, 12/05/1995; Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.080 Operator/subscriber permit requirements.

A.    No person shall operate or use an alarm system to evoke a police response on any premises under that person’s control without first having obtained a permit from the police department. The department need not respond to any alarm system for which a permit has not first been obtained. 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; or

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

3.    The person is the system subscriber.

B.    Each permit will include a control number which shall not be transferable. A permit may be denied if the subscriber has an outstanding alarm service charge pending within the city or another jurisdiction of Thurston County.

C.    Any person who, on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, owns, operates or possesses an alarm system within the city which does not conform to the requirement of this chapter shall disconnect the alarm and render it inoperable or alter it in accordance with this chapter.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.090 Permit revocation.

A.    The chief of police may revoke a permit of any permittee:

1.    Whose alarm system has resulted in more than six false alarm responses by the police department within a continuous ninety-day period; or

2.    Who has failed to pay a penalty charge, as set forth in this chapter, within sixty days of billing.

B.    The chief of police shall notify such permittee in writing by certified mail of the revocation of his/her alarm permit and the grounds thereof.

C.    The notice shall specify the specific date of revocation which shall be no sooner than ten days after the notice is deposited in the mail and that the department will discontinue responding to alarms that occur at the premises described in the revoked permit after the date of revocation.

D.    The permittee may, within ten days of receiving notice of permit revocation, appeal the decision to the city administrator or his/her designee if he/she feels that the revocation was improperly assessed. A decision by the city administrator or his/her designee on the appeal shall be final.

(Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.100 Permit reinstatement.

A.    Reinstatement of the permit may be made upon receipt of a letter from an alarm company licensed by the city pursuant to city code that the alarm system is operating properly and/or the permittee(s)’ agents are properly trained in the alarm system operation. There will be a fee as established by resolution of the city council for the permit reinstatement.

B.    Permits will not be reinstated if there are any outstanding fees or service charges due.

(Ord. O95-047, Amended, 12/05/1995; Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.110 Excessive false alarms.

A.    Service charges for false alarms from any one location shall be assessed as established by resolution of the city council.

B.    If the chief of police determines that a new system has been installed or adequate repairs have been made to an existing alarm system, a new continuous ninety-day period, for purposes of TMC 8.20.090 and this section, shall commence. The subscriber shall be responsible to provide documentation of corrective action.

C.    Any false alarm involving a patrol response from the police department will be considered a billable alarm. If a question arises as to the validity of an alarm, the final determination will be made by the chief of police or his designee.

D.    False alarm penalties referred to in this section will be billed directly by the city to the alarm customer involved in the false alarm.

(Ord. O95-047, Amended, 12/05/1995; Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)

8.20.120 Violations and penalties.

Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, each person is deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day during which any violation of any of the provisions of this code is committed or continued.

(Ord. O2011-007, Amended, 07/19/2011; Ord. 1233, Added, 05/15/1990)