Chapter 8.17
BURGLAR ALARM SYSTEMS

Sections:

8.17.010    Purpose.

8.17.020    Definitions.

8.17.030    Registration of burglar alarm system.

8.17.040    System certification.

8.17.050    Inspection, testing and maintenance.

8.17.060    Burglar alarm activation – Response.

8.17.070    False burglar alarms.

8.17.080    Service fees.

8.17.100    Appeals.

8.17.110    Confidentiality.

8.17.120    Government immunity.

8.17.010 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage owners and alarm businesses to properly install, use, and maintain the operational effectiveness of alarm systems in order to improve the reliability of alarm systems and reduce or eliminate false burglar alarms.

B. This chapter governs burglar alarm systems intended to summon police department personnel, requires registration, assessment of fees for excessive false burglar alarms, provides procedures for repeat offenders, and provides an effective date. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

A. “Adopted code(s)” means all codes, regulations and statutes adopted by the city.

B. “Arming station” means a device that allows control of an alarm system.

C. “Automatic voice dialer” means any electrical, electronic, mechanical, or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message, when activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system, to a law enforcement, public safety or emergency services agency requesting dispatch.

D. “Authority having jurisdiction (AHJ)” means the chief of police or his or her designated representative.

E. “Burglar alarm administrator” means a person designated by the governing authority to administer, control and review false burglar alarm reduction efforts and administer the provisions of this chapter.

F. “Burglar alarm installation company” means a person in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing a burglar alarm system in a burglar alarm site.

G. “Burglar alarm registration” means authorization granted by the alarm administrator to an alarm user to operate an alarm system.

H. “Burglar alarm dispatch request” means a notification to a law enforcement agency that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.

I. “Burglar alarm site” means a single fixed premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each unit, if served by a different street address and integrated in a multi-unit building or complex, shall be considered a separate alarm site.

J. “Burglar alarm system” means a system or portion of a combination system consisting of components and circuits arranged to monitor the status of a burglar alarm.

K. “Cancellation” means response is terminated by a monitoring company notifying the responding law enforcement agency that there is no existing situation at the alarm site requiring law enforcement response.

L. “Control panel standard” means that all control panels should be United Laboratory (UL), or other nationally recognized testing organization, and will be marked appropriately.

M. “Conversion” means the process by which one alarm installation company or monitoring company services and/or monitors a previously unmonitored alarm system or an alarm previously serviced or monitored by another alarm company.

N. “9-1-1 dispatch/Walla Walla public safety communications” means a service that receives calls for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. Personnel prioritize, process and dispatch these calls professionally and promptly while maintaining radio and telephone communications.

O. “Duress alarm” means a silent alarm system signal generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the alarm user is being forced to turn off the system requiring law enforcement response.

P. “False burglar alarm” means a burglar alarm dispatch request when the responding law enforcement officer finds no evidence of a criminal offense after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site.

Q. “Holdup alarm” means a silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.

R. “Local burglar alarm system” means any burglar alarm system not monitored, that annunciates an alarm only at the alarm site.

S. “Monitoring” means the process a monitoring company receives signals from an alarm system and relays a 9-1-1 dispatch request for the purpose of summoning law enforcement to the alarm site.

T. “Monitoring company” means a person in the business of providing monitoring services.

U. “One plus duress alarm” means the manual activation of a silent alarm signal by entering a code that adds one to the last digit of the normal arm/disarm code (e.g., normal code = 1234, one plus duress code = 1235).

V. “Owner” means any person, who owns or operates an alarm system, monitored or not monitored from an alarm installation company or monitoring company.

W. “Owner awareness class” means a class conducted for the purpose of educating alarm users about the responsible use, operation and maintenance of alarm systems and the problems created by false alarms.

X. “Panic alarm” means an audible alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life threatening situation requiring law enforcement response.

Y. “Person” means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.

Z. “Responder” means an individual capable of reaching the alarm site within thirty minutes and having access to the alarm site and the code to the alarm system.

AA. “Takeover” means the transaction or process by which an alarm user takes over control of an existing alarm system, which was previously controlled by another alarm user.

BB. “Verify” means an attempt by the monitoring company, to contact the alarm site by electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine if an alarm signal is valid before requesting law enforcement dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request.

CC. “Zones” means division of devices into which an alarm system is divided to indicate the general location from which an alarm system signal is transmitted. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.030 Registration of burglar alarm system.

A. A registration shall be required for any existing or new burglar alarm systems.

B. A twenty dollar registration fee will be assessed for each registration.

C. Registrations shall not be transferable from one premises to another or from one owner to another.

D. Every burglar alarm company shall notify the AHJ of the existence of a burglar alarm system prior to the burglar alarm system being put into operation. It shall be the responsibility of the installer to provide the owner with notice of the existence of this chapter, a registration form and a copy of the burglar alarm system operation instructions in accordance with adopted codes, and the manufacturer’s instructions.

E. The registration form shall include the following information:

1. The name(s), address of the premises, mailing address (if different from the address of the premises), business and home telephone number of the owner, lessee, operator, manager or person in possession of the premises wherein the burglar alarm system is installed;

2. The name, address and telephone number of a minimum of two persons who can be notified by the AHJ, in the event of the activation of the burglar alarm system, and who shall be capable of responding to the premises within one-half hour of notification, and who are authorized to enter the premises;

3. The name, address and telephone number of the burglar alarm company which has contracted to service the burglar alarm system and proof of proper state licensing/registration with the Walla Walla police department, if required. Proof of proper state licensing may be a valid state licensing number;

4. The date burglar alarm system is placed in operation;

5. Any other documentation relevant to the property or required by AHJ.

F. When any of the information required by subsection (E)(1), (E)(2), or (E)(3), herein, is changed or modified, it shall be reported to the AHJ by the owner within fifteen calendar days of change or modification.

G. The burglar alarm installer shall complete and deliver the burglar alarm system registration in the required format to the AHJ before the burglar alarm system is activated or placed into service. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.040 System certification.

An owner shall maintain the burglar alarm site and the burglar alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false burglar alarms, and make every reasonable effort to have a responder to the burglar alarm system’s location within thirty minutes when requested by law enforcement in order to:

A. Deactivate a burglar alarm system;

B. Provide access to the burglar alarm site; and/or

C. Provide alternative security for the burglar alarm site.

An owner shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so the audible alarm signal on the exterior of a burglar alarm site will sound for no longer than ten minutes after being activated. Those sites requiring a longer period may appeal to the authority having jurisdiction. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.050 Inspection, testing and maintenance.

A. The owner shall ensure all burglar alarm systems are inspected and tested at least once per year in accordance with adopted codes.

B. The owner shall ensure all burglar alarm systems are maintained per manufacturer specifications and adopted codes.

C. An alarm user shall not use automatic voice dialers directly to 9-1-1 dispatch or any law enforcement agency.

D. An alarm user shall maintain at each burglar alarm site, a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.060 Burglar alarm activation – Response.

A. The owner shall be responsible for the activation of a burglar alarm system.

B. A response to the activation of a burglar alarm system shall occur from any officer or member of the police department being dispatched to the premises where the burglar alarm system has been activated.

1. At the time of response, Walla Walla public safety communications shall notify any person identified in the registration required pursuant to subsection 8.17.030(E) of the activation of the burglar alarm system and, at that time such person is required to respond to the premises.

2. In the event the burglar alarm system is a monitored system, it is the responsibility of the company monitoring the burglar alarm system to notify any person identified in the registration at the request of the AHJ. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.070 False burglar alarms.

A. In the event the activation of a burglar alarm system is deemed by the AHJ to be a false burglar alarm, the owner shall be provided a copy of the burglar alarm dispatch request by an officer or member of the police department, indicating that the activation was deemed to be the result of a false burglar alarm.

1. Upon receipt of a burglar alarm dispatch request, the owner shall return to the AHJ a completed report of service/repair within fifteen calendar days of receipt of the burglar alarm dispatch to verify, to the reasonable satisfaction of the AHJ, that:

a. The burglar alarm system has been examined by a qualified burglar alarm technician; and

b. A bona fide attempt has been made to identify and correct any defect of design, installation or operation of the burglar alarm system which was identified as the cause of the false burglar alarm.

2. Failure to return a report of service/repair within said fifteen-calendar-day period, which is satisfactory to the AHJ, may result in assessment against the owner of a fee of fifty dollars. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.080 Service fees.

A. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any newly installed burglar alarm systems for a period of seven days from the date of installation, but shall apply from and after the expiration of the initial seven day period following installation.

B. Should any fee assessed pursuant to this chapter remain unpaid in excess of ninety days from the date fee is billed, a late fee in the amount of twenty-five dollars per day in excess of ninety days may be assessed and may be payable by the owner of the premises in addition to the original fee.

C. False Burglar Alarm.

1. No fee shall be assessed for the first three false burglar alarms at the same premises responded to by the police department during a running six month period. Thereafter, the owner shall be assessed a fee in accordance with subsection 8.17.080(C)(5) for false burglar alarms, in excess of three, responded to by the police department at the same premises during a running six month period, except when the burglar alarm company is responsible for the false burglar alarm pursuant to subsection 8.17.080(C)(2).

a. In determining the number of false burglar alarms, multiple alarms occurring in any twenty-four hour period shall be counted as one false burglar alarm; to allow the owner time to take corrective action unless the false burglar alarms are directly caused by the owner.

2. The burglar alarm company may be assessed a fee of twenty-five dollars if an AHJ determines that a false burglar alarm was directly caused by an on-site employee or representative of the burglar alarm company. In this event, no false burglar alarm shall be counted against the owner.

3. False burglar alarms activated by any components connected to the burglar alarm system shall be included in computing the total number of false burglar alarms for purposes of this subsection.

4. The activation of a burglar alarm system will not be considered a false burglar alarm if the alarm is activated due to causes beyond the control of the owner.

5. The following fees shall be assessed for false burglar alarms:

Number of false burglar alarms

Service fee per false burglar alarm

First to third

0

Fourth

$50

Fifth

$100

Sixth and above

$200

(Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.100 Appeals.

A. An owner or burglar alarm company may appeal the assessment of fees to city hearing examiner, in writing, in manner described in Chapter 20.38 of the Walla Walla Municipal Code, only if the appeal is filed with the AHJ, within fourteen days after the notice is delivered to the owner. An appeal fee of twenty-five dollars shall accompany the appeal. The filing of an appeal with the AHJ stays the assessment of the fee until the city hearing examiner makes a final decision.

B. In the event the assessment is upheld, the owner or burglar alarm company shall also be responsible for reimbursement to the AHJ for any legal fees or costs incurred by the AHJ in enforcement of this chapter. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.110 Confidentiality.

To the extent permitted by public disclosure laws, information supplied to the AHJ shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the AHJ and by any third-party administrator or employees of a third-party administrator with access to such information. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).

8.17.120 Government immunity.

Neither registration of a burglar alarm system nor the provisions of this chapter are intended to, nor will they, create a contract, duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, of response. Any and all liability and consequential damage resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained. When registering a burglar alarm system, the owner acknowledges that police department response may be based on factors such as: availability of police department units, priority of calls, weather conditions, traffic conditions, emergency conditions, and staffing levels. The city, its officers, employees and agents shall not assume any duty or responsibility for the installation, maintenance, operation, repair or effectiveness of any privately owned burglar alarm system, those duties or responsibilities being solely those of the owner of the premises. (Ord. 2002-28 § 1, 2002).