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Olympia Municipal Code Ch. 5.55 - Security Alarm Business

Chapter 5.55
SECURITY ALARM BUSINESSES

Sections:

5.55.010    Purpose.

5.55.011    Definitions.

5.55.012    Effective date.

5.55.020    License required.

5.55.025    Licensing process.

5.55.030    License renewal.

5.55.040    Control number.

5.55.050    Installation standards.

5.55.060    Monitoring standards.

5.55.070    Public disclosure requirements.

5.55.080    Penalties for non-compliance.

5.55.090    Appeals.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.010 Purpose

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 choice or condition, the City seeks to regulate security alarm businesses and to encourage the reduction or elimination of Department response to false alarms by requiring such businesses to be licensed and requiring them to comply with reasonable service quality and truth in advertising standards. (See also Section 16.46 of this Code.)

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.011 Definitions

The following terms, for the purposes of this Chapter, shall have the following meanings:

A.    Alarm Administrator means the person designated by the Chief of Police to administer the city’s security alarm program.

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

C.    Alarm business means any business, by an individual, partnership, corporation or other entity engaged in the selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, installing or responding to security alarms. Alarm businesses also include any person, business or organization that monitors security alarm systems and initiates alarm dispatch requests, 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. Alarm businesses do not include persons doing installation or repair work solely on premises they own, lease or rent, where such work is performed without compensation of any kind (i.e., “do-it-yourselfers”).

D.    Alarm dispatch request means the initiating of a communication to the police, either directly or via its designee, the regional communications agency (CAPCOM), by an alarm business indicating that a security alarm system, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site and requesting Department response to that alarm site.

E.    Alarm site (also security alarm site) means a structure or portion thereof served by a single security alarm system (a “fixed” alarm site). In a multi-tenant building or complex, each portion of the structure or complex having its own security alarm system shall be considered a separate alarm site.

F.    Control number means the unique number assigned to each licensed security alarm business by the Alarm Administrator.

G.    Department (also Police Department) means the Olympia Police Department.

H.    False alarm means a condition in which the responding police officer cannot reasonably attribute an alarm system activation to the commission or attempted commission of a crime, or where making such a determination is not possible because an alarm site is inaccessible - as described in Chapter 16.46.012(O).

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

J.    Person, for purposes of this Chapter, means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.

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

L.    Real-time audio/video surveillance means the monitoring of an alarm site by means of devices that permit either the direct, live listening in or viewing of an alarm site or portions thereof.

M.    Revoke (revocation) for purposes of this Chapter means the indefinite loss of the privileges associated with registering a security alarm system in the City of Olympia (for alarm users) or the privileges associated with an alarm business license (for alarm businesses).

N.    Unverified response means a police response based on information indicating a possible crime or attempted crime at a location (e.g., an alarm site) that has not been positively verified by a person physically present at the location or by real-time audio or video surveillance (e.g., activation of an electronic sensor).

O.    Verified response means a police response that is based on information received from a person physically present at a location (e.g., an alarm site) or from real-time audio or video surveillance positively verifying that there is reasonable cause to believe either that a crime is being attempted or a crime is actually occurring at the location.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.012 Effective Date

The provisions of this Chapter are effective January 1, 2005, and thereafter.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.020 License Required

A.    It is unlawful for any alarm business to sell, lease, maintain, service, repair, alter, replace, move, install, respond to or monitor private security alarm systems located in the City of Olympia without first obtaining a security alarm business license pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter.

B.    It is unlawful for any retail businesses to engage in the selling of security alarm systems and/or devices designed for “do-it-yourself” installation without first obtaining a security alarm business license pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter.

C.    Alarm businesses engaged in the installation, maintenance and servicing of security alarm systems may also be required to have additional professional and technical licenses and to comply with other applicable codes.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.025 Licensing process

A.    Applications for a license under this Chapter shall be available from and be submitted to the City Clerk (or designee).

B.    The license application shall include, but not be limited to the following:

1.    An affidavit signed by the Chief Executive Officer (or other person authorized to act in behalf of the business) committing the security alarm business to comply with the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter 16.46 of this Code.

2.    If the alarm business has had its license temporarily revoked under this Chapter, and is reapplying for a new license, an affidavit signed by the Chief Executive Officer (or other person authorized to act in behalf of the business) detailing the corrective steps taken to restore eligibility for a new license.

C.    The City Clerk (or designee) shall issue a license under this Chapter to a security alarm business that meets the following requirements:

1.    The security alarm business has submitted the application materials specified in 5.55.025(B);

2.    The security alarm business has remitted the required license fee.

3.    The alarm business is in compliance with the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter 16.46 of this Code.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.030 License renewal

Renewal of the license for a security alarm business is contingent on the following conditions:

A.    The alarm business has remained in compliance with the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter 16.46 of this Code during the previous calendar year, and such compliance has been confirmed by the Alarm Administrator.

B.    The alarm business has no outstanding penalty fees and is not in a license revocation period.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.040 Control number

A.    On receipt of confirmation from the City Clerk (or designee) that a security alarm business has been issued a license under this Chapter, the Alarm Administrator shall assign the licensee a unique control number.

B.    The assigned control number remains valid for as long as the security alarm business to which it is assigned remains continuously licensed under this Chapter.

C.    To register alarm systems or evoke police response to alarm dispatch requests, the licensee or his/her agent(s) may be required to provide the Department (or designee) with its valid control number in the manner prescribed by the Alarm Administrator.

D.    No security alarm business shall presume, anticipate or expect the registration of an alarm system or police response to an alarm dispatch request in any circumstance where a valid control number is not provided, as specified in 5.55.040(C).

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.050 Installation standards

A.    All alarm panels that are installed or replaced in the City of Olympia shall comply with the current ANSI Standard on security control panels, or shall have real-time video or audio monitoring capability.

B.    All robbery, hold-up, panic and/or duress alarms designed to evoke police response that are installed or replaced in the City of Olympia shall require at least two actions to activate.

C.    All businesses installing or replacing security alarm systems in the City of Olympia shall, prior to securing registration for and activating the system, complete both an Installer False Alarm Prevention Checklist and a Customer Training and False Alarm Prevention Checklist verifying that the alarm user has been properly prepared for use of the system and has been apprised of the rules and regulations governing the operation of alarm systems in the City.

D.    No business installing, replacing or re-programming security alarm systems in the City of Olympia shall program a security alarm system to do any of the following:

1.    Have an entry/exit delay of less than 45 seconds;

2.    Have a siren, bell or other signal audible from any property adjacent to the alarm site that sounds for more than five (5) consecutive minutes or three (3) repetitions of the five minute cycle without resetting.

3.    Accept alarm inputs for the first sixty (60) seconds following a power restoration.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.060 Monitoring standards

A.    All businesses monitoring burglary alarm systems located in the City of Olympia shall, prior to requesting a police alarm dispatch, do the following:

1.    Attempt a verification call to the premises;

2.    If no responsible party is located on the initial verification call, attempt a second verification call to a cell phone or other alternate contact number designated by the alarm user.

3.    This section does not apply to robbery/hold-up/panic/duress alarms or to public schools on certain days and hours, as described in OMC 16.46.181(A)(1).

B.    No alarm business monitoring security alarms shall initiate a police dispatch request when it knows, or reasonably should know, that the request relates to an address/site that is unregistered or that has had its registration suspended or revoked.

C.    No alarm business monitoring security alarms shall initiate a police dispatch request to any alarm site that it knows, or reasonably should know, is fitted with a protective-reactive device until a person responsible for the alarm site has been contacted - in person - and has confirmed that he/she is en route to the alarm site to disarm the device. In all cases where a protective-reactive device is present at an alarm site, the police dispatch request shall include a warning for officers not to enter the alarm site until the responsible person is present and has disarmed the device.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.070 Public disclosure requirements

A.    Any security alarm business entering into a contract with a customer for the purchase and installation of a new security alarm system at an alarm site in the City of Olympia shall, prior to final acceptance of that contract by the customer, provide the customer with a copy of the City of Olympia’s Public Disclosure Statement For Security Alarm Users.

B.    Any security alarm business entering into a contract with an alarm user for the monitoring of a new or existing security alarm system at an alarm site in the City of Olympia shall, prior to final acceptance of that contract by the customer, provide the alarm user with a copy of the City of Olympia’s Public Disclosure Statement For Security Alarm Users. If one alarm business contracts with a customer concurrently for installation and monitoring, only one disclosure statement is required.

C.    Any retail business in the City of Olympia offering security alarm systems or devices to the general public for “do-it-yourself” installation shall, at the time of sale, provide customers purchasing such systems or devices with a copy of the City of Olympia’s Public Disclosure Statement For Security Alarm Users.

D.    Proof of compliance with the public disclosure requirement is a precondition of initial alarm system registration (OMC 16.46.031). Receipt by the Alarm Administrator of a copy of the disclosure statement signed by the alarm user is appropriate proof of compliance.

E.    The Alarm Administrator determines the content of the Public Disclosure Statement For Security Alarm Users and assures that all security alarm businesses licensed under this Chapter are provided with a current, replicable version of the Statement.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.080 Penalties for non-compliance

A.    An alarm business engaging in installation or maintenance of security alarm systems that does not comply with any standard or requirement specified in sections 5.55.050 or 5.55.070 of this code, or an alarm business engaging in monitoring of security alarm systems that does not comply with any standard or requirement specified in sections 5.55.060 or 5.55.070 of this code, shall:

1.    On the first offense, receive a written warning from the Alarm Administrator stating the nature of the violation and the consequences for future violations;

2.    On the second offense, be assessed a penalty fee of $500 by the Alarm Administrator.

3.    On the third offense, be assessed a penalty fee of $1,000 by the Alarm Administrator and receive a written warning of revocation.

4.    On the fourth offense, have its security alarm license revoked for one (1) year.

5.    Any alarm business that has its security alarm license revoked two or more times may have its license permanently revoked by the Alarm Administrator.

B.    A retailer licensed under this Code to engage in the sale of security alarm systems or devices who does not comply with section 5.55.070(C) of this code shall:

1.    On the first offense, receive a written warning from the Alarm Administrator stating the nature of the violation and the consequences for future violations;

2.    On the second offense, be assessed a penalty fee of $250 by the Alarm Administrator.

3.    On the third and each subsequent offense, be assessed a penalty fee of $500 by the Alarm Administrator.

C.    The Alarm Administrator shall notify, by certified mail, the Chief Executive Officer of the security alarm business of any written warning, imposition of fees or license revocation involving that business. Such notification shall include revocation starting and ending dates (when appropriate) and appeal options and processes. The date of a revocation action shall be no less than twenty (20) business days from the date the certified letter is mailed to the security alarm business, to allow the business to notify its customers and make arrangements for the cessation of service.

D.    The Alarm Administrator shall, after the date for appeal has passed, notify the public in a timely manner of any instance in which an security alarm business has its license revoked. Such notification shall be in a newspaper of general circulation and on the Police Department web site and shall include the security alarm business name, the reason for the action and the dates the revocation begins and ends. In cases where an appeal is requested, public notification shall take place after a decision is reached on the appeal, if appropriate. The security alarm business shall be responsible for the actual cost of public notification.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).

5.55.090 Appeals

Penalty fees and license revocations may be appealed to the Alarm Appeals Officer, as follows:

A.    The appeal process is initiated by the security alarm business sending a letter to the Alarm Appeals Officer requesting an appeal conference and specifying the reasons for the appeal. This letter must be received by the Alarm Appeals Officer within ten (10) working days after receipt of the certified letter notifying the business of the penalty fee or license revocation.

B.    A security alarm business may initiate an appeal under this section only on the grounds that the offense cited as the basis for a penalty fee or license revocation did not occur. The security alarm business must, in its letter requesting an appeal, describe credible evidence in its possession that supports its position.

C.    The Alarm Appeals Officer may reject, without further process, requests for appeals that are not supported by credible evidence from the appellant. Notice of rejection of a request for appeal shall be sent to the appellant in writing within five (5) working days following receipt of the request by the Alarm Appeals Officer.

D.    The filing of a request for an appeal conference with the Alarm Appeals Officer sets aside any pending penalty fee or revocation until the Alarm Appeals Officer rejects the appeal, as described in 5.55.090(C), or renders a final decision.

E.    The Alarm Appeals Officer shall conduct an appeal conference in Olympia within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the appeal request, and shall determine if grounds exist to reconsider the action.

F.    At the appeal conference, the Alarm Appeals Officer shall consider evidence presented by any interested person(s). The Alarm Appeals Officer shall make his/her decision on the basis of the preponderance of evidence presented at the conference.

G.    The Alarm Appeals Officer shall render a decision and notify the appellant and the Alarm Administrator thereof in writing within ten (10) working days after the appeal conference is held. The Alarm Appeals Officer may affirm, cancel or modify the penalty fee or license revocation that is the subject of the appeal.

H.    The official decision of the Alarm Appeals Officer is final, and no further appeals or remedies are available, except those provided by law.

I.    Authority of the Alarm Appeals Officer is set forth in section 16.46.172 of this Code.

(Ord. 6315 §1, 2004).