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Kirkland Municipal Code Ch. 21.35A - Police False Alarms

Chapter 21.35A
POLICE FALSE ALARMS

Sections:

21.35A.010    Purpose.

21.35A.020    Definitions.

21.35A.030    Administration.

21.35A.040    Registration required.

21.35A.050    Registration fees.

21.35A.060    False alarm fees.

21.35A.070    Fees—Exemptions.

21.35A.080    Failure to pay fees.

21.35A.090    Corrective action.

21.35A.100    Service suspension—Level I.

21.35A.110    Service suspension—Level II.

21.35A.120    Service suspension—Level III.

21.35A.130    Exemptions.

21.35A.140    Effect of service suspension.

21.35A.150    Enhanced call verification required.

21.35A.160    Administrative appeals.

21.35A.170    Change of alarm business.

21.35A.180    Prohibited acts.

21.35A.010 Purpose.

It is the intent of this chapter to reduce the number of false alarms occurring within the city and recover city expenses associated with police responses to false alarms. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meaning ascribed to them below unless the context in which they are used clearly indicates otherwise:

(1)    “Alarm business” shall mean a business operated by any individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity selling, leasing, maintaining, monitoring, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, or installing any alarm system or causing to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved, or installed any alarm system on real property.

(2)    “Alarm monitoring company” shall mean a business operated for the purpose of monitoring the electronic transmission of an alarm signal when activated.

(3)    “Alarm system” shall mean any system, device, or mechanism which, when activated, transmits an electronic signal to a private monitoring company or some other telephone number, 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 vehicle or a medical alarm.

(4)    “Alarm user” shall mean the person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, entity, or organization of any kind that has an alarm system installed in or on their premises.

(5)    “Alarmed premises” shall mean any enclosed or open area and/or any portion of an area protected by an alarm system.

(6)    “Burglary alarm system” shall mean 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.

(7)    “Communication center” shall mean the Kirkland police department communication center.

(8)    “Corrective action report” shall mean a report, supplied by the city of Kirkland, requesting the alarm user to detail what steps were taken to correct an improperly functioning alarm.

(9)    “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 and requires law enforcement response.

(10)    “Entity” shall mean alarm user.

(11)    “False alarm” shall mean the activation of any burglary, robbery, or duress/panic alarm system when no crime is being committed or attempted upon a person, real property, or other property or when no medical emergency exists. An alarm shall be presumed to be false if the responding police officers do not locate any evidence of an intrusion or commission of an unlawful act or emergency on the premises which might have been a legitimate cause for the alarm to activate. This does not include alarms caused by violent acts of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm user or alarm business.

(12)    “Managing employee” shall mean the finance and administration licensing employee assigned to administer the false alarm program.

(13)    “Probationary period” or “probation” shall mean a six-month period following any service suspension during which if a false alarm is received the alarm user is moved to the next service suspension level.

(14)    “Robbery alarm system” shall mean 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. See “Holdup alarm.”

(15)    “Service suspension” shall mean a period of time when the Kirkland police department will not respond to reports of property-related alarms.

Three separate service suspension levels exist:

(A)    Level I. A ninety-day service suspension for a site not currently on probation which has experienced six or more false alarms in a twelve-month period. This is followed by a six-month probation period.

(B)    Level II. A three-hundred-sixty-five-day service suspension for a site which has experienced a false alarm while on a Level I six-month probationary period. This is followed by a six-month probation period.

(C)    Level III. A permanent service suspension for a site which has experienced a false alarm during the six-month Level II probationary period.

(16)    “System subscriber” shall mean a person, corporation, firm, partnership, association, company, organization, or other business entity who purchased, owns, or contracts for the use of any alarm system.

(17)    “Verification” shall mean an independent method of authentication, used by the alarm monitoring company to determine that a signal from an automatic alarm system reflects the true need for an immediate police response. See “Enhanced call verification.”

(18)    “Dual action device” means a panic/holdup or duress device that requires two simultaneous actions to activate; i.e., a holdup device with buttons on each side that must be simultaneously depressed or two buttons on a keypad that must be simultaneously depressed and held for two to three seconds.

(19)    “Enhanced call verification (ECV)” shall mean a monitoring procedure requiring that a minimum of two calls be attempted prior to making an alarm dispatch request. Should the first call be unsuccessful, a second call will be made to a different phone number where a responsible party can typically be reached. An alarm dispatch request may be made after the second call is attempted. ECV is not required for duress, holdup or panic alarms.

(20)    “Holdup alarm” shall mean a silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress or immediately after it has occurred and requires law enforcement response.

(21)    “Panic alarm” shall mean an audible alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation requiring law enforcement response.

(22)    “SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard” shall mean the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) approved Security Industry Association (SIA) CP-01 Control Panel Standard, as may be updated from time to time, that details recommended design features for security system control panels and their associated arming and disarming devices to reduce the incidence of false alarms. Control panels built and tested to this standard by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or other nationally recognized testing organizations, will be marked to state: “Design evaluated in accordance with SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard Features for False Alarm Reduction.” (Ord. 4210 § 1, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.030 Administration.

(a)    The false alarm program shall be overseen by the managing employee. Personnel and volunteers may be assigned to this program as needed and will answer to the managing employee regarding the activities associated with this program.

(b)    The managing employee shall coordinate the maintenance of records and correspondence necessary to support the false alarm program.

(c)    The managing employee shall ensure the communication center has accurate, up-to-date access to those sites on all levels of service suspension. The communication center will be notified by the suspension icon specific to each suspended address. In addition, the managing employee will provide, upon request, a current list designating the premises name, address, and period of service suspension.

(d)    The managing employee or their supervisor and the police chief or designee are the only individuals authorized to exercise discretion in administration of any portion of this program. (Ord. 4210 § 2, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.040 Registration required.

(a)    After July 1, 2006, no person or entity shall operate or use an alarm system on any premises within the city of Kirkland, without first having obtained an alarm permit from the city of Kirkland licensing staff. A separate alarm permit shall be required for each premises protected by an alarm system.

(b)    The police department may not respond to an alarm system for which a permit has not been obtained.

(c)    For the purposes of this section, a person or entity shall be deemed to be an operator or user of an alarm system if:

(1)    The person or entity controls both the alarm system and the premises upon which it is installed;

(2)    The person or entity controls the premises and is the subscriber, client or tenant of the alarm system provider; or

(3)    The person or entity is the system subscriber or alarm user.

(d)    All persons required to obtain a permit must complete an application on a form approved by the licensing staff and pay the fee as determined by this chapter. All alarm systems require an annual renewal of registration and payment of associated fees. All applications shall include the following information and such other information as may be prescribed by the licensing staff:

(1)    The system subscriber and/or alarm user’s name, addresses and telephone number(s);

(2)    Names and telephone number(s) of three additional persons designated to respond in the event of alarm activation in the absence of the system subscriber or alarm user. Said persons must be capable of providing access to the premises and be able to deactivate the alarm;

(3)    The electrical inspection permit number for the alarm system;

(4)    The name of the alarm business responsible for regular alarm system maintenance and the company’s electrical contractor’s license number;

(5)    The information required in subsection (d)(3) of this subsection shall not apply to existing alarms or alarms that are installed in multiple-tenant buildings.

(e)    Failure to provide all required information will result in automatic denial of the permit and may result in no police response to alarm activations at the alarmed premises. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.050 Registration fees.

(a)    In addition to other fees set forth in this chapter, the following fees shall be assessed against the alarm user by the city:

Initial alarm registration

$25.00

Annual renewal of alarm registration

$25.00

(b)    All fees shall be collected by the department of finance and administration licensing staff. (Ord. 4210 § 3, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.060 False alarm fees.

Within a twelve-month period the following false alarm fees will be assessed:

First False Alarm *

$50.00

Second False Alarm

$50.00

Third False Alarm

$100.00

Fourth False Alarm

$150.00

Fifth False Alarm

$200.00

Sixth False Alarm

$250.00

Seventh False Alarm and Above

$300.00

*Applies to nonregistered/renewed permits only

(Ord. 4210 § 4, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.070 Fees—Exemptions.

The following persons shall be exempt from fees imposed under Sections 21.35A.050 and 21.35A.060:

Persons over the age of sixty-two that reside within alarmed premises where no business activities are conducted are exempt from the fees imposed by this chapter. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.080 Failure to pay fees.

Failure by any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization to pay any fees imposed under this chapter shall result in a service suspension until the fee is paid. Payment must be made to the city of Kirkland licensing staff within fifteen business days of the postmark date of the notice to pay that was mailed by the city. All such notices shall state that failure to pay the fee will result in service suspension. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.090 Corrective action.

(a)    After the first false alarm during a twelve-month period, a letter shall be mailed to the alarm user detailing the false alarm program requirements and fees. If the alarmed premises has a current alarm permit registration, no alarm fine will be assessed. If the alarmed premises is not currently registered or renewed, an invoice for fifty dollars shall be mailed to the alarm user.

(b)    After the second false alarm during a twelve-month period, a reminder letter detailing the false alarm program requirements and an invoice for fifty dollars shall be mailed to the alarm user.

(c)    After the third false alarm during a twelve-month period, a corrective action report will be provided to the alarm user by the licensing staff along with an invoice for one hundred dollars. Failure by the alarm user to respond to the corrective action report within fifteen business days from the date of the postmark on the notice sent by the city will result in a service suspension until such time as the fee and corrective action report response are received. The managing employee will notify the police communications center of the service suspension and effective dates.

(d)    After the fourth false alarm during a twelve-month period, a reminder letter detailing the false alarm program requirements and an invoice for one hundred fifty dollars shall be mailed to the alarm user.

(e)    After the fifth false alarm during a twelve-month period, a letter along with an invoice for two hundred dollars shall be delivered by certified mail to the alarm user informing them that service suspension will occur if there is one more false alarm during the twelve-month period.

(f)    Following the sixth false alarm in a twelve-month period, the managing employee or their supervisor, with the approval of the police chief or designee, will set a service suspension date. Notification of the service suspension will be sent along with an invoice for two hundred and fifty dollars.

(g)    A false alarm occurring during any suspension level or probationary period will incur a fine of three hundred dollars. This includes response to false panic, duress and holdup alarms. (Ord. 4210 § 5, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.100 Service suspension—Level I.

The following provisions and procedures shall apply to Level I service suspensions:

(1)    Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the police department will not respond to an alarm activation during the ninety-day period beginning from the first date of service suspension.

(2)    The alarm user shall be provided written notice by certified mail of the service suspension date prior to implementation of said suspension.

(3)    The alarm user will be provided a blank corrective action report prior to the expiration of the service suspension period. Failure by the alarm user to respond to the corrective action report prior to the expiration of the suspension period will result in continued service suspension until such time as the corrective action report is received by the licensing staff. The alarm user shall be notified of the consequences of failing to submit the corrective action report at the time the alarm user is provided the corrective action report.

(4)    If the corrective action report has not been received by the licensing staff prior to the expiration of the ninety-day service suspension, the managing employee will contact the alarm user to determine the status of the report and advise them that service will not be restored until the report is received.

(5)    Upon the expiration of the ninety-day service suspension, the alarm user will be placed on a six-month probationary period. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.110 Service suspension—Level II.

The following provisions and procedures shall apply to Level II service suspensions:

(1)    Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the police department will not respond to an alarm activation during the three-hundred-sixty-five-day period beginning from the first date of service suspension.

(2)    After the first false alarm while on Level I probation, the managing employee or their supervisor with the approval of the police chief or designee will set a three-hundred-sixty-five-day service suspension.

(3)    The alarm user shall be provided written notice by certified mail of the service suspension date prior to implementation of said suspension.

(4)    The alarm user will be provided a blank corrective action report prior to the expiration of the service suspension period. Failure by the alarm user to respond to the corrective action report prior to expiration of the suspension period will result in continued service suspension until such time as the corrective action report is received by the licensing staff. The alarm user shall be notified of the consequences of failing to submit the corrective action report at the time the alarm user is provided the corrective action report.

(5)    Prior to the expiration of the three-hundred-sixty-five-day service suspension period, the managing employee will verify whether a completed corrective action report has been submitted by the alarm user. If not, the managing employee will contact the alarm user to determine the status of the report.

(6)    Upon the expiration of the three-hundred-sixty-five-day service suspension period, the alarm user will be placed on a six-month probationary period. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.120 Service suspension—Level III.

The following provisions and procedures shall apply to Level III service suspensions:

(1)    Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the police department will not respond to an alarm activation from the first date the permanent service suspension goes into effect.

(2)    After the first false alarm while on Level II probation, the managing employee or their supervisor with the approval of the police chief or designee will set a permanent service suspension date.

(3)    The alarm user shall be provided written notice by certified mail of the permanent service suspension date prior to implementation of said suspension. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.130 Exemptions.

The managing employee may, in his or her discretion, not include false alarm activations generated by a newly installed and registered alarm system during the first five business days immediately following the initial installation thereof. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.140 Effect of service suspension.

(a)    Suspension of response under this chapter shall apply only to burglary and property alarms and shall not apply to any holdup, robbery, panic, or duress alarms. However, all such alarms shall be counted in determining the total number of false alarms received.

(b)    Those alarm systems on service suspension may request a waiver of suspension and be moved to a six-month probation if written request and alarm company work orders are received to show that corrective measures have been taken to reduce the reoccurrence of the type of false alarms which resulted in the suspension:

Holdup/Panic alarms:

Installation of dual action devices

Entry/Exit errors:

Upgrade control panel to SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard

(c)    If the alarm user remains false-alarm-free during the probationary period, they will be returned to full response status. Should a false alarm occur during this probationary period, the alarm user will be moved back to the original suspension status followed by a new six-month probationary period. (Ord. 4210 § 6, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.150 Enhanced call verification required.

(a)    No alarm monitoring company or alarm business shall contact the police communications center to report an alarm activation unless enhanced call verification (ECV) procedures have been utilized by said company to ascertain whether the activation is a false alarm. ECV shall not be required for robbery, holdup, duress or panic alarm activations. The alarm monitoring company or alarm business must indicate that the ECV was followed prior to requesting dispatch from the police communication center.

(b)    At a minimum, the enhanced call verification procedure shall consist of:

(1)    Attempt by the alarm business or alarm monitoring company to call the alarm site or a responsible party to determine if the alarm was accidentally activated by an authorized occupant of the building;

(2)    In the event a call to the protected premises or primary responsible party is unsuccessful, a second call will be attempted to a responsible party to determine if there should be an individual at the premises at the time the alarm was activated; or

(3)    Audibly or visually monitor the premises utilizing electronic means followed by a call to a responsible party to determine if there should be an individual at the alarmed premises at the time the audible or visual signal is received. (Ord. 4210 § 7, 2009: Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.160 Administrative appeals.

(a)    An alarm user may appeal the validity of a false alarm determination to the city hearing examiner. The request for an appeal must be in writing and filed with the city clerk within fifteen business days of the postmark on the notice that was sent by the city. Failure to contest the false alarm determination in the required time period shall result in a presumption that the alarm was false.

(b)    Failure to appear at the hearing set in response to an appeal will result in the appellant being responsible for all costs incurred.

(c)    The appeal hearing shall be before the hearing examiner and a written transcript or tape recording of the proceedings shall be kept. The alarm user and the city shall have the right to present written and oral evidence and call witnesses. If the hearing examiner determines that the activation was a valid alarm, the hearing examiner shall order the false alarm designation removed from the alarm user’s record. If the false alarm designation is determined to be valid, the designation shall be entered upon the alarm user’s record and the licensing staff shall pursue collection of any penalties or fees. In either case, the hearing examiner shall enter written findings setting forth the basis for his or her decision. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.170 Change of alarm business.

If an alarm user changes the alarm business or alarm monitoring company in an effort to remedy false alarms or a service suspension, all response services by the police department will be reinstated when all fees have been paid and the alarm user has re-registered with the city. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)

21.35A.180 Prohibited acts.

No person or entity shall:

(1)    Operate or use an alarm system, which emits an audible sound where such emission does not automatically cease within fifteen minutes. Any alarm system which does not meet the requirements of this subsection or which, because of repeated audible activations, significantly disturbs the peace of the neighborhood, shall be deemed to be a nuisance. In those incidents when the alarm is declared a nuisance, and no other alternatives exist, the police department may disable the alarm without prior notice.

(2)    Use an alarm system to protect more than one licensed business or private residence without receiving a separate alarm permit for such business or private residence.

(3)    Operate or use any alarm system for which the registration or service response has been suspended.

(4)    Operate or use any alarm system that automatically dials the police department directly and delivers a pre-recorded message. The police department may not respond to an alarm of this type. (Ord. 4042 § 1 (part), 2006)