ARTICLE V. - ALARM SYSTEM Rockford, Illinois, Code of Ordinances
Sec. 7-198 Findings and intent.
(a) This article is adopted for the purpose of regulating and permitting alarm systems to which the police or fire department is expected to respond.
(b) The city council has found that alarm systems often generate calls to the police and fire departments that are false in the sense that no actual or attempted illegal entry to the building protected by the alarm has actually occurred or that no fire or threat of fire exists. Rather, the call is initiated by owner negligence or system malfunction. In 1995, the police department alone responded to over 14,600 false alarms. And during 2009, 256 false medical alarms were generated at a single facility due primarily to system design.
Sec. 7-199 These false alarms are hereby determined to be public nuisances endangering the public health, safety and welfare in that: [1.] They may unduly disturb neighboring persons or property by their audible signal; [2.] They cause the police or fire department to respond with lights and sirens, thereby unnecessarily disturbing neighboring persons and property and increasing the risk of accidents to the motoring public; and [3.] They divert police and fire protection from actual threats to public health and safety. (Code 1970, § 7-620; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-198, 2-1-2010).
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Alarm system means any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to signal the occurrence of any emergency at a protected premises to which the police or fire department are expected to respond.
Alarm user means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, organization, company, or other entity in control of a premises where an alarm system is located.
Chief means the fire chief with respect to any false alarm generated by an alarm system or portion thereof arranged to signal the occurrence of a fire or medical emergency, and the chief of police with respect to all other false alarms.
False alarm means an alarm system activated in the absence of an emergency whether willfully, by system design or by inadvertence, negligence or unintentional act, including any mechanical or electrical malfunction of the alarm system, to which the department of police or fire is alerted for a response.
A false alarm shall not include an alarm activated by testing or repairing of telephone or electrical lines or equipment outside the premises if prior notice of the testing or repair is given to the department of police or fire; unusually violent conditions of nature; an illegal entry, theft or robbery, or an attempt thereof; or an observable act of vandalism, where evidence of such activity exists. Also, a false alarm shall not include an alarm to the police department that is canceled by an alarm monitoring service, as identified on the alarm application, prior to arrival of the police. Notice means written notice given by personal service upon the addressee or given by the United States Postal Office, postage paid, to the addressee's last known mailing address.
Permittee means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, organization, company, or other entity issued an alarm permit by the city. Protected premises means any building, structure, or facility where an alarm system is installed.
Sec. 7-200 Permit required.
(a) It is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other legal entity to use, own or lease an alarm system or to be in control of premises wherein an alarm system is operated or maintained without having first obtained a permit as provided in this article. Nothing in this section requires a permit to be obtained by an alarm system company for an alarm system installed on premises not owned or leased by such company.
(b) It is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other legal entity to use, own or lease an alarm system or to be in control of premises wherein an alarm system is operated or maintained when a permit therefore has been revoked.
(c) A permit must be obtained for each alarm system used, leased or owned by an alarm user. Each permit shall be issued for a period of one year from the date of issuance. A decal or sticker evidencing the permit shall be issued when the permit is initially issued. An initial permit fee shall be as established by the city. Renewal permits shall be for one year at no charge. The fee for a replacement for a decal or sticker issued under this section that is lost, stolen or damaged shall be as established by the city. No alarm user may own, control or occupy a building, structure or facility in which an alarm system is maintained unless a decal or sticker evidencing a permit issued under this section is displayed on or near the upper right corner of the main exterior door of the premises (approximately six feet above ground or a place of greater or equal visibility) or a place of greater or equal visibility in a manner that is clearly visible from the exterior of the premises. (Note: Fire alarm systems in commercial, assembly or industrial occupancies will require the purchase and installation of a key box by the owner in accordance with section 9-113. Such key boxes must be approved by and conform to fire department standards.) (Code 1970, § 7-622; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-199, 2-1-2010)
Sec. 7-201 Permit application
(a) Each applicant for a permit to maintain an alarm system shall file a written application with the city finance department stating: [1.] The full legal name, address, and telephone number of the applicant; [2.] The name, address and telephone number of the premises where the alarm system is located; [3.] The type of alarm system for which the permit is sought; [4.] A list of three persons, including their addresses and telephone numbers, who can be contacted and will respond to the premises in the event of an emergency or to reset or deactivate the alarm system or who could contact the alarm user if the alarm user is not at the protected premises; [5.] The name, address and telephone number of the person or company that installed the alarm system; [6.] The name, address and telephone number of the person or company that is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the alarm system, if applicable; [7.] The type of business conducted on the premises covered by the alarm: retail sales, manufacturing, storage, day care, health care, etc.; and [8.] Documentation of most recent required test of alarm system for which a permit is to be issued as prescribed in NFPA 72.
(b) Incomplete applications shall be returned to the applicant. A permit will not be issued until the completed application is received.
(c) An application for an alarm user permit shall be denied if: (1) The applicant has failed to pay false alarm fees or fines required by this article for a different alarm system under the applicant's ownership or control; or (2) The applicant has failed to comply with any of the provisions of this article or other ordinances of the city, including nonpayment of any fine for false alarms for the alarm system for which the permit is sought.
(d) It is unlawful for any alarm user to fail or refuse to amend its alarm user permit application within five business days after any of the information required and contained therein becomes outdated or inaccurate.
(e) The city's finance department shall be responsible for processing and issuing alarm user permits.
(Code 1970, § 7-622; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-200, 2-1-2010)
Sec. 7-202 Alarm activations at a premises where an alarm user permit has not been issued. Any alarm user who does not have a valid alarm user permit will be assessed a fine in the amount of $300.00 for each notice of an activation of an alarm system at the protected premises. (Code 1970, § 7-623; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-201, 2-1-2010).
Sec. 7-203 Transfer of alarm user permit prohibited. An alarm user permit cannot be transferred to other premises or to another person. (Code 1970, § 7-624; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-202, 2-1-2010).
Sec. 7-204 False alarm prohibited. It is unlawful for any alarm user to control or possess an alarm system that generates, transmits or issues a false alarm as defined in this article. (Code 1970, § 7-625; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-203, 2-1-2010) -(Code 1970, § 7-626; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-204, 2-1-2010) . -
Sec. 7-205 False alarms; fines; notifications.
(a) Any alarm user permittee who has more than four false alarms within a 12-month period at a single protected location will be assessed fines as established by the city.
(b) All fines must be paid to the city finance department within 30 days from the date of the notice demanding payment of the fine or the department of law shall file a complaint for ordinance violation in the circuit court.
(c) The chief or his designee shall notify the alarm user, in writing, of each instance wherein his department has recorded a false alarm. The alarm user shall have the opportunity within 14 days from the date of mailing or personal delivery to submit a report or meet with the chief or his designee for the purpose of showing cause as to whether circumstances exist to warrant voiding the false alarm recordation. The chief or his designee shall review the alarm user's report and/or meet with the alarm user and issue a written finding to the alarm user as to whether or not the false alarm record will be voided. The finding of the chief or his designee shall be final. (Code 1970, § 7-627; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-205, 2-1-2010)
Sec. 7-206 Permit revocation
(a) Any alarmed premises that have ten or more false alarms within a 12-month period shall subject the alarm user to permit revocation as provided herein.
(b) If city records show ten or more false alarms within a 12-month period for any alarmed premises: [1.] The chief shall notify the alarm user by certified mail or personal delivery that their alarm permit shall be revoked 30 days from the date of mailing or personal delivery. The alarm user shall have 14 days from the date of mailing or personal delivery to submit a written report to the chief describing actions taken or to be taken to identify and eliminate the cause of the false alarms, and to request that their alarm user's permit be reinstated. [2.] If the alarm user submits a report requesting reinstatement of their alarm user's permit, the chief shall determine if the action taken or to be taken will substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms. If he determines that the action will substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms, he shall notify the alarm user, via certified mail or personal delivery, that the request to reinstate the alarm user's permit has been approved. [3.] If the alarm user's permit is reinstated and the police or fire department responds to a subsequent false alarm activation in the same 12-month period at the protected premises, the chief shall proceed with the permit revocation process again as described in this section. The alarm user shall also be assessed a fine in the amount of $300.00 for each subsequent false alarm through the remainder of the calendar year. [4.] If the chief determines that the action taken or to be taken will not substantially reduce the likelihood of false alarms, the request for reinstatement shall be denied. The chief shall give notice by certified mail or personal delivery to the user that the permit will be revoked without further notice.
(c) Any alarm user permittee who fails to pay any fines or charges provided for under this article within 30 days from the date of the invoice requesting payment of the same shall have the subject alarm user permit revoked. Any such alarm user permit shall not be reinstated until all the unpaid fines and fees are paid in full.
Sec. 7-207 Penalty for violation
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provisions of this article, in addition to the fees and specific fines established herein, shall be fined as provided in section 1-9. Each day during which a violation of this article continues or is permitted to exist shall be considered a separate and distinct offense. (Code 1970, § 7-630; Ord. No. 1996-213-O, 9-3-1996; Ord. No. 2010-010-O, § 7-207, 2-1-2010)