Pierce County Sheriff's Department Alarm Program

Alarm Ordinance

Exhibit A to Ordinance No. 2019-72

"New Chapter"

Chapter 8.64 

ALARM SYSTEMS

Sections:

8.64.010   Definitions.

8.64.020   Administration; Funding; Increases in Fees and Fines; Annual Evaluation.

8.64.030   Alarm User Registration and Renewal Requirements and Fees.

8.64.040   Alarm User Registration Application and Contents.

8.64.050   Transfer of Alarm User Registration Prohibited.

8.64.060   Duties of Alarm Users.

8.64.070   Audible Alarms -- Restrictions.

8.64.080   Business Registration of Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies.

8.64.090   Duties of Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies.

8.64.100   Duties and Authority of the Sheriff's Department and Alarm Administrator.

8.64.110   False Alarm Fees; Other Fees and Fines.

8.64.120   Notice to Alarm Users of False Alarms and Suspension of Sheriff's Department Response.

8.64.130   Suspension of Sheriff's Department Response to Alarm Sites.

8.64.140   Appeals of Determinations Regarding Alarm Registrations, Fees and Fines.

8.64.150   Reinstatement of Suspended Alarm Registrations.

8.64.160   Suspension of Business Registration for Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies.

8.64.170   Confidentiality of Alarm Information.  

8.64.180   Scope of Sheriff's Department Duty; Immunities Preserved. 

8.64.190   Fees and Fines Schedule.

8.64.010     Definitions.

A.   "Alarm Administrator" means the person or persons designated by the Sheriff's Department to administer the provisions of this Chapter.

B.    "Alarm agreement" means the legal contract or agreement by and between the alarm installation company and/or monitoring company and the alarm user.

C.    "Alarm agreement holding company" means the alarm installation company or monitoring company that holds the alarm agreement with the alarm user.

D.   "Alarm Confirmation" (AC) means that prior to the monitoring company or alarm user making an alarm dispatch request, they have confirmed that the alarm activation is likely a result of criminal activity or an emergency condition. 

E.    "Alarm dispatch request" means a notification to the Sheriff's Department that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.

F.    "Alarm installation company" means a person in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing an alarm system at an alarm site for compensation, and includes individuals or firms that install and service alarm systems used in a private business or proprietary facility. Not included in this definition are 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").

G.   "Alarm registration" means a registration and unique number issued by the Alarm Administrator to an alarm user which authorizes the operation of an alarm system.

H.   "Alarm Response Manager" (ARM) means a person designated by an alarm installation company or monitoring company to handle alarm issues for the company and act as the primary point of contact for the Sheriff's Department Alarm Administrator and Sheriff's Department designee. 

I.     "Alarm site" means a location served by one or more alarm systems.  In a multi-unit building or complex, each unit shall be considered a separate alarm site if served by a separate alarm system.  In a single-unit building that houses two or more separate businesses with separate alarm systems, each business shall be considered a separate alarm site.

J.     "Alarm system" means a device or series of devices which emit or transmit an audible or remote visual or electronic alarm signal which is intended to summon law enforcement response.  The term includes hardwired systems, surveillance cameras, and systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, and includes local alarm systems.  This term does not include an alarm installed in a motor vehicle or a system which will not emit a signal either audible or visible from the outside of the building, residence or beyond, but is designed solely to alert the occupants of a building or residence.

K.   "Alarm user" means any person who has contracted for monitoring, repair, installation or maintenance service for an alarm system from an alarm installation company or monitoring company, or who owns or operates an alarm system which is not monitored, maintained or repaired under agreement, or who owns a self-monitored alarm system.

L.    "Alarm user 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.

M.   "Alarm user list" means a list provided by the alarm user's alarm installation company or, if no alarm agreement exists, between the alarm user and an alarm installation company, the alarm user's monitoring company.

N.   "Automatic voice dialer" means any electronic, mechanical, or other device which, when activated, is capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message to a law enforcement agency requesting dispatch to an alarm site.

O.   "Burglar alarm" means an alarm intended to identify the presence of an intruder in either a business or residence.

P.    "Business registration" means a registration and unique number issued by the Sheriff's Department Alarm Administrator to an alarm installation company or monitoring company to conduct business in unincorporated Pierce County.

Q.   "Cancellation" means the termination of Sheriff's Department response to an alarm site after an alarm dispatch request is made but before a deputy has arrived at the alarm site. 

R.    "Confirmation" means an attempt by the monitoring company, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user, or both, by telephone or other electronic means to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before making an alarm dispatch request.

S.    "Conversion of alarm user" means the transaction or process by which one alarm installation company or monitoring company begins the servicing or monitoring of a previously unmonitored alarm system or an alarm system that was previously serviced or monitored by another alarm company.

T.    "Enhanced Call Confirmation" (ECC) means an attempt by the monitoring company, or its representative, to contact the alarm site and/or alarm user and/or the alarm user's designated representatives by telephone and/or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting a Sheriff's Department burglar alarm dispatch in order to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request.

U.   "False alarm" means an alarm dispatch request to the Sheriff's Department which results in the responding deputy finding no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense after completing an investigation of the alarm site.

V.   "Holdup alarm" means a silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.

W.   "Local alarm system" means an unmonitored alarm system that annunciates an alarm only at the alarm site or a self-monitored alarm site.  

X.   "Monitoring" means the process by which a monitoring company receives signals from an alarm system and relays an alarm dispatch request to the Sheriff's Department.

Y.   "Monitoring company" means a person in the business of providing monitoring services.

Z.    "Panic alarm" means an alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life threatening or emergency situation requiring Sheriff's Department response. 

AA.  "Person" means an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.

BB.  "Protective-reactive device" means a device that produces a temporary disability or sensory deprivation through use of chemical, electrical, sonic or other means, including use of devices that obscure or disable a person's vision. 

CC.  "Registration number" means a unique individual number assigned to an alarm user as part of the alarm registration issued by the Sheriff's Department Alarm Administrator.

DD.  "Responsible party" means a person capable of appearing at the alarm site upon request who has access to the alarm site, the code to the alarm system, and the authority to approve repairs to the alarm system.

EE.  "Robbery alarm" means an alarm signal generated by the manual or automatic activation of a device, or any system, device or mechanism on or near the premises intended to signal that a robbery is in progress, and that a person needs immediate Sheriff's Department assistance to avoid bodily harm, injury or death. The term has the same general meaning as "holdup alarm" or "duress alarm" which is a silent alarm 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 Sheriff's Department response.

FF.   "Self-monitored alarm site" means an alarm system that is monitored by the alarm user through various means such as a smart phone or private electronic device (sometimes referred to as DIY or Do It Yourself alarm systems).

GG.  "Sheriff's Department" means the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

HH.  "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.

II.    "Zones" means a division of devices into which an alarm system is separated to indicate the general location from which an alarm system signal is transmitted and reported by the monitoring company to the Sheriff's Department communications.

8.64.020     Administration; Funding; Increases in Fees and Fines; Annual Evaluation.

A.   Responsibility for administration of this Chapter is vested with the Sheriff's Department. 

B.   The Sheriff's Department shall designate an Alarm Administrator to carry out the duties and functions described in this Chapter. 

C.   Monies generated by fees and fines assessed pursuant to this Chapter shall be deposited into the appropriate Sheriff's Department revenue accounts.

D.   Based upon a review and recommendation from the Sheriff's Department, the fees and fines set forth in the Fees and Fines Schedule in this Chapter may be modified by a County Council resolution. The Sheriff's Department or its contract representative shall post the fees and fines on the Sheriff's Department web site and notify the alarm companies and monitoring companies.  These companies shall then be responsible to notify their customers of these fees and fines. For purposes of this subsection, "fees and fines" include any type or class of fee and fine, including late fees and penalties.

E.    The Sheriff's Department and/or the Alarm Administrator shall conduct an annual evaluation and analysis of the effectiveness of this Chapter and identify and implement system improvements as warranted.

8.64.030     Alarm User Registration and Renewal Requirements and Fees. 

A.   Alarm sites must be registered.

1.   An alarm user shall not operate, or cause to be operated, any alarm system without a valid alarm registration.  A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site having a distinct address or business name.  A separate alarm registration is required for each alarm site with the same address having a distinct and separate alarm system (i.e., detached shops or garages on residential property).  The initial alarm registration fee must be paid by the alarm user to the Alarm Administrator within 30 days after any alarm system installation or alarm system takeover. 

2.   Owners of local alarm systems or self-monitored alarm systems are required to adhere to all Sections of this Chapter and are subject to all fees, fines, suspensions, penalties, alarm confirmation and other requirements that are applicable.

3.   Alarm Registration and Renewal Fees.  The fees for an alarm registration or an alarm registration renewal are collected by the Alarm Administrator and are provided in Chapter 8.64 PCC.  All reduced registration rates apply to residential alarm sites only.

In order to qualify for the senior rate, applicants must provide proof of age, be listed as the property owner or lessee and must have the alarm contract in their name. 

In order to qualify as an individual with a permanent disability the individual must provide proof of permanent disability.  Proof may be in the form of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Identification Card or documentation showing at least 30 percent permanent disability, a Washington Department of Licensing parking placard issued for permanent disability under RCW 46.16.381, or any other means that the Sheriff's Department deems an appropriate proof of permanent disability.  In addition, the individual must be listed as the property owner or lessee and must have the alarm contract in their name. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

4.   Late Fees.  Alarm users who fail to obtain and/or make payment for an alarm registration or renewal within 60 days after notification shall be assessed a late fee. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

5.   Refunds.  No refund of a registration or registration renewal fee shall be made unless there has been an overpayment or the alarm user moves or cancels the alarm service within two months of alarm registration or alarm registration renewal.

6.   Upon receipt of a completed alarm registration application form and the alarm registration fee, the Alarm Administrator shall issue a registration number or alarm registration renewal to the applicant unless:

a.   The applicant has failed to pay a false alarm fee or fine assessed under this Chapter.

b.   An alarm registration for the alarm site has been suspended, and the condition causing the suspension has not been corrected.

7.   An alarm registration shall expire one year from the date of issuance and must be renewed annually by the alarm user. Renewal registrations are valid for one year.

The Alarm Administrator shall notify the alarm user of the need to renew their registration 30 days prior to the expiration of the registration. It is the responsibility of the alarm user to submit updated information and renewal fees prior to the registration expiration date. Failure to renew shall be classified as use of a non-registered alarm system and shall subject the alarm site to suspension and late fee and reinstatement fee. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule. 

8.   Registration fee exemptions. Government entities, including but not necessarily limited to County, State, Federal and Schools, must obtain alarm registrations for all alarm systems on property under their control within unincorporated Pierce County, but are exempt from payment of alarm registration and alarm renewal fees. All alarm registration fee exempted alarm sites are required to obtain and maintain a valid alarm registration for a Sheriff's Department response and are subjected to all other fees, fines and suspension of enforcement, except when this action is prohibited by statute. 

8.64.040     Alarm User Registration Application and Contents.

A.   An application for alarm registration must be in a format provided by the Sheriff's Department and Alarm Administrator.

B.   Alarm registration applicants must acknowledge in the application that the Sheriff's Department response may be influenced by factors including, but not limited to, the availability of deputies, priority of calls, traffic conditions, weather conditions, emergency conditions, prior alarm history, administrative actions and staffing levels; 

C.   Any false statement of a material fact made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm registration is sufficient cause for refusal to issue a registration, or revocation of an existing registration.

8.64.050     Transfer of Alarm User Registration Prohibited. 

A.   An alarm registration cannot be transferred to another person or alarm site.  An alarm user shall inform the Alarm Administrator and the applicable alarm company of any change to the information listed on the alarm registration application within 30 days after such change. 

B.   Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee when the transfer proposed is among members of the family of the original registration holder or successors in interest to the property for which the registration has been issued. 

8.64.060     Duties of Alarm Users.

A.   An alarm user shall:

1.   Maintain the alarm site and the alarm system in a manner that shall minimize or eliminate false alarms, including replacement of the standby battery(s) or uninterrupted power supply so that the failure or interruption of the normal electric utility service for a period of up to four hours shall not activate the alarm system. 

2.   Make every reasonable effort to arrive at the alarm system's location within 30 minutes after being requested by the monitoring company or Sheriff's Department in order to: 

a.   Deactivate an alarm system;

b.   Provide access to the alarm site; and/or

c.   Provide alternative security for the alarm site. 

3.   Provide to the monitoring company the names and telephone numbers of at least two individuals who are able and have agreed to:

a.   Receive notification of an alarm system activation at any time;

b.   Respond to the alarm site at any time; and 

c.   Provide access to the alarm site and deactivate the alarm system, if necessary.

4.   Notify the monitoring company when the names and telephone numbers of contact individuals changes.

5.   Notify the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee to update their alarm registration when contact information changes, when changing alarm companies, or when moving.

6.   Not activate an alarm system for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.

7.   Not operate or cause to be operated any automatic dialing device which, when activated, uses a telephone device, electronic device, or attachment to automatically dial a telephone line leading into the Sheriff's Department or Sheriff's Department communication center, followed by a transmission of any prerecorded message or signal.

8.   Not use any type of alarm system that is rigged to produce a temporary disability or sensory deprivation through use of chemical, electrical, sonic or other means, including use of devices that obscure or disable one's vision. 

9.   Not install a protective-reactive device without prior written approval of the Sheriff's Department or designee.  During any alarm at such a site, a responsible party must be contacted and confirm that he or she shall respond to the alarm site to disarm the device.

10. Not operate or cause to be operated any alarm system with single action or non-recessed button robbery, duress, or panic device.

11. Keep a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system at each alarm site.

12. Fully participate with their alarm installation company or monitoring company in an "acclimation period" for the first seven days after installation of an alarm system, during which time the alarm installation company or monitoring company shall have no obligation to respond to, nor shall it respond to, any alarm signal from the alarm site, or make an alarm dispatch request to law enforcement, unless the alarm signal is the result of an actual criminal event.

13. Not make a burglar alarm dispatch request for a self-monitored alarm site after receiving notice from the Alarm Administrator that the registration is suspended. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

8.64.070     Audible Alarms -- Restrictions. 

A.   No one shall install, modify or repair an alarm system in unincorporated Pierce County that has a siren, bell or other signal that is audible from any property adjacent to the alarm site that sounds for longer than ten consecutive minutes after the alarm is activated, or that repeats the 10-minute audible alarm cycle more than two consecutive times without resetting. Violators shall be fined in accordance with the penalties for false alarms. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

B.   In the event that an audible alarm is activated and fails to reset itself or continues to activate for more than 60 minutes and the responsible person listed on the alarm registration or other responsible person cannot or will not respond to silence the alarm, and the continued activation of the alarm is creating a disturbance, the Sheriff's Department may cause the alarm to be disconnected in a manner determined reasonable for the circumstances. The alarm user shall be liable for the actual costs involved to abate the malfunctioning alarm. Pierce County, the Sheriff's Department, and its employees or agents shall not be liable for any damage resulting from such disconnection.  

C.  No alarm system shall emit a sound resembling an emergency vehicle siren or civil defense warning. The Sheriff's Department or designee shall make the final determination regarding any question of the alarm sound.

8.64.080     Business Registration of Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies. 

A.   Every alarm installation company and every monitoring company shall obtain a business registration from the Sheriff's Department through the Alarm Administrator and pay an annual fee.  Failure to pay the annual fee within 60 days after notice requires the payment of a late fee. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

B.    No alarm company operator or alarm agent shall install, maintain, or repair any alarm system in unincorporated Pierce County unless the alarm company operator or alarm agent has, prior to performing such work, registered with the Sheriff's Department through the Alarm Administrator.

C.    Sheriff's Department response to any alarm dispatch request from any alarm installation company or monitoring company that does not possess a current, valid business registration issued pursuant to this Chapter will be subject to additional fines. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.) 

D.   Each alarm installation company shall provide the name, address and phone number of any monitoring company they are using to monitor their alarm sites within unincorporated Pierce County. Monitoring companies shall do the same for alarm installation companies that use their monitoring services within unincorporated Pierce County.

8.64.090     Duties of Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies. 

A.   Alarm Response Manager (ARM). Each alarm installation company and monitoring company must designate one individual as the Alarm Response Manager (ARM) for the company who will manage alarm-related issues and act as the point of contact for the Alarm Administrator and Sheriff's Department designee.  The appointed individual must be knowledgeable about the provisions of this Chapter and have authority to deal with false alarm issues and respond to requests from the Alarm Administrator and Sheriff's Department designee.  The name, contact number, and email address of the designated ARM shall be provided to the Alarm Administrator.  Failure to designate an ARM within 30 days after being so notified in writing from the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee may result in the suspension of the alarm company business registration and suspension of Sheriff's Department response to alarm dispatch requests.  A reinstatement fee shall be charged.  This shall cover the administration action costs for this Chapter. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

B.    Additional Duties of Alarm Agreement Holding Companies. 

1.   New Alarm User Accounts.

a.   The alarm agreement holding company shall notify the Alarm Administrator within 30 days that an alarm system has been installed in unincorporated Pierce County and send the Alarm Administrator the required information.

b.   In the case of self-installed alarm systems that are to be monitored by a monitoring company, the monitoring company shall notify the Alarm Administrator within 30 days of the alarm agreement to monitor the alarm system and send the Alarm Administrator the required information.

c.   Failure to notify the Alarm Administrator of a new alarm system installation or alarm agreement to monitor an alarm system within 30 days shall result in a fine to the alarm agreement holding company. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

2.   Existing Alarm User Accounts. 

a.   The alarm agreement holding company shall provide to the Alarm Administrator a complete list of active alarm customers and a complete list of canceled alarm customers in unincorporated Pierce County. These alarm user lists shall be provided both annually and within 40 days upon request. The alarm user lists shall be in a format approved by the Alarm Administrator and shall include name, alarm site address, billing address, telephone number, and email address if available for each alarm user.

b.   The alarm agreement holding company may apply to the Alarm Administrator for an extension of the 40-day time limit when extenuating circumstances exist.

c.   The alarm agreement holding company may, through a mutual written agreement, have another alarm company provide the alarm user's list.

d.   Failure to comply and provide alarm user lists to the Alarm Administrator as required in this Chapter shall result in a fine per working day after the initial 40‑day notice expires. Failure to comply and pay this fine shall also result in automatic suspension of the alarm agreement holding company's business registration. A reinstatement fee shall be charged. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fines Schedule.)

3.   Conversion of Alarm User Accounts.  An alarm agreement holding company that converts (purchases or otherwise acquires) the servicing of any alarm system account from another company shall notify the Alarm Administrator of such conversion and shall provide to the Alarm Administrator, within 60 days from the date of conversion, an alarm user list of the converted accounts in a format acceptable to the Alarm Administrator.

4.   Alarm Dispatch Requests.  No alarm agreement holding company shall make any alarm dispatch requests to a non-registered alarm site. It shall be the duty of the alarm agreement holding company to verify that their alarm customer has a current valid alarm registration. The Alarm Administrator shall make available to each alarm installation company and monitoring company an online portal with the registration status of their alarm customers. Violation of this Section shall result in a fine. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

C.    The alarm user lists provided to the Alarm Administrator by alarm installation companies and monitoring companies are proprietary and confidential information as provided for in PCC 8.64.080 Confidentiality of Alarm Information. 

D.   Alarm installation companies shall:

1.   Upon the installation or activation of an alarm system, distribute to the alarm user information summarizing:

a.   The applicable law relating to alarm systems, including the alarm registration fee requirement and potential for fees for false alarms;

b.   How to prevent false alarms; and

c.   How to operate the alarm system. 

2.   Ensure that alarm users of alarm systems equipped with a duress, robbery, holdup or panic alarm, or alarm users who are provided with a remote device with a panic feature, are provided adequate training on the proper use, operation and function. 

3.   Supply all alarm systems with an uninterrupted power supply in such a manner that the failure or interruption of the normal electric utility service for a period of up to four hours shall not activate the alarm system.

4.   Include a device which shall limit the duration of the audible alarm to a period of not more than ten minutes per activation.

5.   Not install, modify or repair single action or non-recessed button robbery, duress, or panic devices. New devices shall require two actions or an activation time delay to provide more positive assurance that the user intends to activate the device.

6.   Not use an automatic voice dialer for any alarm system which, when activated, uses a telephone device, electronic device, or attachment to automatically dial a telephone line leading into the Sheriff's Department or Sheriff's communication center, followed by a transmission of any pre-recorded message or signal.

E.    Alarm monitoring companies shall:

1.   Not make an alarm dispatch request to an alarm signal during the first 7‑day "acclimation period" after an alarm system installation. Exceptions to the "acclimation period" can be made by the Sheriff's Department or designee in special circumstances such as confirmed criminal activity, domestic violence and stalking. Violators shall be fined in accordance with the penalties for false alarms. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

2.   Employ "Alarm Confirmation" (AC) on all burglar alarm dispatch requests. Failure to employ AC shall result in a fine. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.) 

This alarm confirmation may be one of the following:

a.   The monitoring company has contacted the alarm site and spoken to a person to confirm that a criminal act has occurred or is occurring, requiring law enforcement to respond; or

b.   The alarm site is equipped with an interior live-time video or audio monitored remotely by the monitoring company or the alarm user, and it can be seen or heard that a criminal act has occurred or is occurring, requiring law enforcement to respond; or

c.   The alarm site is equipped with a control panel which has confirmed that at least two independent zones, (e.g., an exterior perimeter and an interior zone) has been triggered and the monitoring company has completed the Enhanced Call Confirmation to the alarm user; or 

d.   The alarm is an older system and not in compliance with the two independent zone standard, therefore, the monitoring company has completed the Enhanced Call Confirmation (ECC). They must ensure that they have received two or more alarm signals during the same alarm event period (ten minutes). 

3.   Employ "Enhanced Call Confirmation" (ECC) procedures on all burglar alarm dispatch requests in an attempt to confirm the validity of the alarm. Exempted are monitored audio or interior live-time video alarm systems with evidence of a crime or a person on site reporting evidence of a crime. For the purpose of this Chapter, telephone confirmation shall require as a minimum that a second call be made to a different number, if the first attempt fails to reach an alarm user who can properly identify themselves to determine whether an alarm signal is valid before requesting Sheriff's Department burglar alarm dispatch. Names and numbers of those persons contacted or attempted to contact shall be provided to the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee upon request. The Sheriff's Department may refuse to respond to an alarm dispatch request where the monitoring company has failed to comply with ECC. Failure to employ ECC shall result in a fine. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.) 

4.   Communicate alarm dispatch requests to the Sheriff's Department communications in a manner and form determined by the Sheriff's Department.

5.   Communicate alarm dispatch cancellations to the Sheriff's Department communications in a manner and form determined by the Sheriff's Department. 

6.   Communicate the type of alarm activation (robbery, panic, burglary, silent or audible) if available, on each alarm dispatch request.

7.   Communicate any available zone information (north, south, east, west, front, back, door, window, etc.) about the location of an alarm signal or alarm signals as part of an alarm dispatch request. Report each activated zone during multi-zone activation events. 

8.   When making an alarm dispatch request, notify Sheriff's Department Communications if the alarm site has guard dog(s), pets or a protective-reactive device or alarm system. During any alarm event at such a site, a responsible party must be contacted and confirm that he or she will respond to the alarm site to disarm the device or take control of the guard dog(s).  In all cases where a protective-reactive device is present at an alarm site, the patrol dispatch request shall include a warning for deputies not to enter the alarm site until the responsible party is present and has disarmed the device.  Failure to provide this warning to deputies shall result in a fine to the monitoring company. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

9.   Prior to making an alarm dispatch request, attempt to notify the alarm user to send a responsible party to the alarm site in order to:

a.   Deactivate an alarm system; or 

b.   Provide access to the alarm site; or 

c.   Provide alternative security for the alarm site.

10. After an alarm dispatch request, promptly advise the Sheriff's Department if the alarm user or a responsible party is on the way to the alarm site;

11. Maintain, for a period of at least one (1) year after the date of an alarm dispatch request, all records relating to the alarm dispatch request. Records must include the name, address and telephone number of the alarm user, each alarm system zone activated, the time of alarm dispatch request and evidence of all attempts to confirm.  The Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee may request copies of such records for any individual alarm user.  If the request is made within 60 days after an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish requested records within 3 business days after receiving the request. If the records are requested between 60 days and one year after an alarm dispatch request, the monitoring company shall furnish the requested records within 30 days after receiving the request.  Failure to comply shall result in an immediate suspension of response and a service fine. A reinstatement fee shall be charged. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

12. Upon request, immediately provide the Sheriff's Department with the names and phone numbers of the alarm user's emergency contacts at the time of each alarm dispatch request.  

13. Not make a burglar alarm dispatch request for an alarm user after receiving notice from the Alarm Administrator that the alarm user's registration is suspended. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

8.64.100     Duties and Authority of the Sheriff's Department and Alarm Administrator. 

A.   The Sheriff's Department or designee shall:

1.   Designate the manner and form of alarm dispatch requests and the telephone numbers and/or communication process to be used for such requests;

2.   Establish a procedure to accept cancellation of alarm dispatch requests;

3.   Establish a procedure to acquire and record information on alarm dispatch requests.

4.   May consider a waiver or partial waiver of a false alarm fee if a false robbery, holdup or panic alarm has occurred and the alarm was triggered using a single action, non-recessed device if action is taken by the alarm user to remove or replace the single action, non-recessed button. 

B.    The Alarm Administrator shall:

1.   Establish a procedure to acquire and record information on alarm dispatch requests.

2.   Establish and implement a procedure to notify the alarm user of a false alarm.  The notice shall include the following:

a.   The date and time of a deputy's response to the false alarm;

b.   A statement urging the alarm user to ensure that the alarm system is properly operated, inspected, and serviced in order to avoid false alarms and resulting false alarm fees; and

c.   The false alarm fees incurred.

3.   Make a copy of this Chapter and/or an ordinance summary sheet available to each alarm user.

C.    The Alarm Administrator may establish an alarm user awareness class.  The Alarm Administrator may collaborate with associations, alarm companies and law enforcement agencies in developing and implementing the class.  The class shall inform alarm users of the problems created by false alarms and teach alarm users how to avoid creating false alarms.

D.   The Alarm Administrator may use electronic means to communicate with alarm users, alarm installation companies and monitoring companies when applicable or when requested by the recipient and at the Alarm Administrators discretion.

E.    The Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee may require that a conference be held with an alarm user and the alarm installation company or monitoring company responsible for repairing or monitoring of the alarm system to review the circumstances of multiple false alarms.  The conference may be held in person or through a conference telephone call at the discretion of the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee.   

8.64.110     False Alarm Fees; Other Fees and Fines.

A.  False Alarm Fees. An alarm user shall pay fees to the Alarm Administrator for Sheriff's Department response to any false alarm. If a false alarm fee is not paid within 60 days after the invoice date, a late fee shall also be imposed. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

B.  Fees for False Alarms by Unregistered Alarm Systems. A supplemental fee for each false alarm is hereby imposed upon any person operating an unregistered alarm system. This applies only to accounts that have been notified to register. PCC 8.64.130 A.3. provides for suspension of alarm users that have not paid their registration fees. The Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's designee may waive this additional fee for an unregistered system if the alarm user submits an application for alarm registration within 30 business days after receiving notice of such violation. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

C.    Cancellations. If cancellation of Sheriff's Department response occurs prior to a deputy arriving at the alarm site, the response is not considered a false alarm for the purpose of fees, or total number of false alarms for the alarm user, and no false alarm fee shall be assessed.

D.   The Alarm Administrator may waive a false alarm fee due to a history of false alarms that is identified as chronic equipment failure, provided that work orders were submitted for repairs prior to the false alarm(s).

E.   The alarm installation company shall be assessed a fee if the deputy responding to the false alarm determines that an on-site employee of the alarm installation company directly caused the false alarm.  Such false alarms are not included in the total number of false alarms for the alarm user, nor is the alarm user held responsible for the false alarm fee. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

F.   A fee is hereby imposed against any monitoring company that fails to confirm alarm system signals as required in this Chapter. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

G.   Notice of the right of appeal under this Chapter shall be included with notice of any fee or fine.

H.  All fees and fines assessed under this Section are due within 60 days of written notice unless otherwise noted. A late fee shall be imposed for each individual fee or fine due that is not paid within 60 days. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.) 

8.64.120     Notice to Alarm Users of False Alarms and Suspension of Sheriff's Department Response.

A.   The Alarm Administrator shall notify the alarm user in writing after each false alarm. The notice shall include:

1.   the amount of the fee for the false alarm;

2.   a statement that response shall be suspended after the third false alarm in a one-year registration period (excluding duress, holdup and panic alarms); and 

3.   an advisement that the alarm user has the right to appeal.

B.    The Alarm Administrator shall notify the alarm user and the alarm agreement holding company in writing 30 days prior to suspension of Sheriff's Department response to subsequent alarms. Suspension of alarm response does not apply to duress, robbery, holdup and panic alarms. The notice of suspension shall also include the amount of the fee for each false alarm, a description of the reinstatement process, and that the alarm user has the right to appeal. 

8.64.130     Suspension of Sheriff's Department Response to Alarm Sites.

A.   The Alarm Administrator shall notify the Sheriff's Department and alarm agreement holding company of each alarm user whose alarm registration qualifies for suspension under this Chapter.  The Alarm Administrator may suspend an alarm registration if it is determined that:

1.   The alarm user has had three or more false burglar alarms within the one-year registration period, except that the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee may waive a suspension of a registration upon receipt of documented work orders showing reasonable attempts to repair the alarm system prior to the notice of suspension; 

2.   There is a false statement of a material fact in the registration application; or 

3.   The alarm user failed or refused to pay an alarm registration or alarm registration renewal fee, false alarm fee, late fee, or any other fee or fine assessed under this Chapter.  

B.    It is a violation of this Chapter for a monitoring company or any individual with a self-monitored alarm site to make an alarm dispatch request to a burglar alarm site that is suspended. The monitoring company or individual with a self-monitored alarm site must pay a fine to the Alarm Administrator for each such dispatch to an alarm site.  If the penalty is not paid to the Alarm Administrator within 60 days, a late fee is hereby imposed. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.) 

C.    Unless there is an independent indication that there is a crime in progress, Sheriff's Department Communications may not dispatch a deputy to an alarm site for which an alarm registration is suspended.

D.   If an alarm registration is reinstated, the Sheriff's Department may again suspend the alarm registration if it is determined that 2 false alarms have occurred within 180 days after the reinstatement date

E.    This subsection applies to alarm systems, except holdup alarms, robbery alarms and panic alarms, which are subject to suspension at the discretion of the Sheriff's Department.  

8.64.140     Appeals of Determinations Regarding Alarm Registrations, Fees and Fines. 

A.   If the Alarm Administrator assesses a fee or fine, suspends an alarm user or alarm company registration or denies the issuance, renewal or reinstatement of an alarm user or alarm company registration, the Alarm Administrator shall send written notice of the action and a statement of the right to appeal to the affected applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company. 

B.    The applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company may appeal any action to the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee within 60 days after receipt of notice of the action.  Failure to appeal within that time period is a waiver of the right to appeal.   

C.    The procedure for an appeal to the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee is as follows: 

1.   The applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company may appeal by phone or in writing to the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee. The Alarm Administrator shall forward the customer information, phone number and reason for appealing to the Sheriff's Department designee.

2.   The Sheriff's Department designee shall review the appeal within 30 days of receipt of the request for appeal, contact the applicant, alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company for resolution, and inform the Alarm Administrator of any adjustments which need to be made on the account.

3.   Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Sheriff's Department designee may appeal in accordance with the procedure set forth in Chapter 1.22 PCC.    

4.   Filing of an appeal stays any action by the Alarm Administrator to suspend an alarm registration or require the payment of a fee or fine until the appeal process has been exhausted.  This provision applies only to the action of the Alarm Administrator that is the subject of the appeal.  This provision does not operate as a bar to enforcement action on violations of this Chapter that occur thereafter. 

D.   The Alarm Administrator or the Sheriff's Department designee may adjust the count of false alarms based on:

1.   Evidence that a false alarm was caused by action of a communications services provider (e.g. telephone, cellular, cable company);

2.   Evidence that a false alarm was caused by a power outage of more than four hours or severe weather such as a tornado or earthquake; 

3.   Evidence that an alarm dispatch request was not a false alarm; or 

4.   The occurrence of multiple alarms within in a 24-hour period, which may be considered as one false alarm if the alarm user has taken corrective action, unless the false alarms are directly caused by the alarm user. 

E.   The Sheriff's Department designee may waive all or part of a false alarm fine due to extenuating circumstances or to encourage corrective action. 

F.    The Sheriff's Department designee may waive 50 percent of the false alarm fine for the first chargeable false alarm during the alarm user's registration period, pending the successful completion of the alarm user awareness class available through the Alarm Administrator. In order to have the fine partially waived, the alarm user shall be in possession of a valid alarm registration and have successfully completed the class within 60 days of the fine notice. Alarm users without online access may request the alarm user awareness class be mailed to them and reasonable additional time to complete the class shall be allowed for mail delivery. 

8.64.150     Reinstatement of Suspended Alarm Registrations. 

A.   A person whose alarm registration has been suspended may obtain reinstatement of the registration by the Alarm Administrator or Sheriff's Department designee if the person pays a reinstatement fee and pays, or otherwise resolves, all outstanding fees, fines and other charges. In the case of suspension due to false alarms, the alarm user may additionally be required to: 

1.   submit a written notice from an alarm installation company stating that the alarm system has been inspected and repaired by the alarm installation company; and 

2.   successfully complete an alarm awareness class and test. 

B.    The Sheriff's Department shall reinstate its response to an alarm site as soon as is practicable after receiving notice of reinstatement from the Alarm Administrator. The alarm user and monitoring company shall take notice that the alarm site has been officially reinstated only after receiving notice from the Alarm Administrator of that fact. It shall be the responsibility of the alarm user to confirm that their registration status and future Sheriff's Department response has been properly restored. 

8.64.160     Suspension of Business Registration for Alarm Installation Companies and Monitoring Companies. 

A.   The Sheriff's Department or designee may suspend Sheriff's Department response to all alarm dispatch requests from an alarm installation company or monitoring company if it is determined that: 

1.   There is a violation of this Chapter by the alarm installation company or monitoring company and the condition causing the violation has not been corrected; 

2.   There is a false statement of a material fact in the application for a business registration; or 

3.   The alarm installation company or monitoring company has failed to pay any fee, fine or other charge assessed under this Chapter, more than 60 days after the fee, fine or other charge is due. 

B.    Prior to suspending an alarm installation company or monitoring company, the Alarm Administrator shall notify all known alarm users subscribing to the company that the company is going to be suspended and that the Sheriff's Department may no longer respond to the user's alarms. A 60-day period shall be provided for the alarm users to make other arrangements if they choose prior to the final suspension implementation date of the alarm installation company or monitoring company. 

C.    A reinstatement fee or fee per alarm user, if letters have been sent by the Alarm Administrator, whichever is the greater amount, shall be charged to the alarm installation company or monitoring company.  This shall cover the administration action costs for this Section. (See PCC 8.64.190, Fees and Fine Schedule.)

D.   A suspension of Sheriff's Department response is subject to the appeal process provided for within this Chapter and Chapter 1.22 PCC. 

E.    The Sheriff's Department designee may, for good cause shown, reinstate an alarm installation company or monitoring company that has been suspended pursuant to this Chapter.  

8.64.170     Confidentiality of Alarm Information. 

All information contained in documents gathered through alarm registrations, business registrations, the submission of customer lists, the alarm appeal process and records relating to alarm dispatch requests must be held in confidence by all employees of the Alarm Administrator, Pierce County and any third-party alarm administrator.  Such information is exempt from public disclosure pursuant to RCW 42.56.240(9).  Such information may be released to a law enforcement agency, third-party administrator or the applicable alarm user, alarm installation company, or monitoring company. 

8.64.180     Scope of Sheriff's Department Duty; Immunities Preserved. 

The issuance of alarm registrations or business registrations does not create a contract between the Sheriff's Department and/or Pierce County and any alarm user, alarm installation company or monitoring company, nor does it create a duty or obligation, either expressed or implied, on the Sheriff's Department to respond to any alarm.  Pierce County shall not be liable for any damage resulting from the failure of the Sheriff's Department to respond to an alarm dispatch request because the Sheriff's Department response is influenced by the availability of deputies, priority of calls, traffic conditions, weather conditions, emergency conditions, staffing levels, prior response history and administrative actions. 

 

8.64.190     Fees and Fines Schedule.  

Fees and Fines -- Alarm User

Amount

Frequency

Additional information

Alarm Registration – Residential – PCC 8.64.030

$24.00

Initial application

 

Alarm Registration – Residential Senior – PCC 8.64.030

$12.00

Initial application

 

Alarm Registration – Residential Disabled – PCC 8.64.030

$12.00

Initial application

 

Alarm Registration – Commercial – PCC 8.64.030

$24.00

Initial application

 

Alarm Registration Renewal – Residential – PCC 8.64.030

$24.00

Annually

 

Alarm Registration Renewal – Residential Senior – PCC 8.64.030

$12.00

Annually

 

Alarm Registration Renewal – Residential Disabled – PCC 8.64.030

$12.00

Annually

 

Alarm Registration Renewal – Commercial – PCC 8.64.030

$24.00

Annually

 

Late Fee – PCC 8.64.030; PCC 8.64.110 A.,H.; PCC 8.64.130 B.

$25.00

Per bill

For unpaid bills over 60 days past due

Reinstatement Fee – PCC 8.64.030

$50.00

 

For suspended accounts

Audible Alarm Violation – Burglar False Alarm – PCC 8.64.070 A.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Audible Alarm Violation – Robbery, Holdup, Panic False Alarm – PCC 8.64.070 A.

$150.00

Each occurrence

Reduced from $200.00

Burglar False Alarm – PCC 8.64.110 A.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Robbery, Holdup, Panic False Alarm – PCC 8.64.110 A.

$150.00

Each occurrence

Reduced from $200.00

Operating an unregistered alarm system supplemental fee – PCC 8.64.110 B.

$100.00

Each occurrence

May be waived if alarm registration is obtained within 30 days of notice

Requesting dispatch on suspended alarm site – PCC 8.64.060; PCC 8.64.130 B.

$200.00

Each occurrence

 

Non-Sufficient Funds Fine (Pierce County Budget and Finance Policy & Procedure Manual)

$25.00

Per check

For dishonored checks

 

Fees and Fines -- Alarm Company

Amount

Frequency

Additional Information

Business Registration – PCC 8.64.080 A.

$100.00

Initial application

 

Business Registration Renewal – PCC 8.64.080 A.

$100.00

Annually

 

Late Fee – PCC 8.64.080 A.; PCC 8.64.110 H.; PCC 8.64.130 B.

$25.00

Per bill

For unpaid bills over 60 days past due

Reinstatement Fees – PCC 8.64.090 A.,B.,E.; PCC 8.64.160 C.

Varies

 

For suspended accounts - At least $100.00 or $10.00 per alarm user if letters have been sent, whichever is the greater amount

Audible Alarm Violation – Burglar False Alarm – PCC 8.64.070 A.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Audible Alarm Violation – Robbery, Holdup, Panic False Alarm – PCC 8.64.070 A.

$150.00

Each occurrence

Reduced from $200.00

Requesting dispatch without valid business registration – PCC 8.64.080 C.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Failure to provide existing alarm user list – PCC 8.64.090 B.

Varies

 

$25 per working day until the alarm company provides list as requested and automatic suspension of business registration

Failure to notify of new alarm system installation or alarm agreement to monitor – PCC 8.64.090 B.

$100.00

 

Per alarm site address

Requesting dispatch for an unregistered alarm site – PCC 8.64.090 B.

$50.00

1st call

 

$100.00

2nd call

 

$200.00

Per call

3rd and additional calls

Requesting dispatch without employing AC and ECC – PCC 8.64.090 E.; PCC 8.64.110 F.

No fees

 

0 – 35 calls

$25.00

Per call

36 – 50 calls

$50.00

Per call

51 – 100 calls

$100.00

Per call

101 or more calls

Acclimation Period Violation – Burglar False Alarm – PCC 8.64.090 E.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Acclimation Period Violation – Robbery, Holdup, Panic False Alarm – PCC 8.64.090 E.

$150.00

Each occurrence

Reduced from $200.00

Failure to warn deputies of dangerous alarm site – PCC 8.64.090 E.

$200.00

Each occurrence

 

Failure to provide alarm dispatch request records – PCC 8.64.090 E.

Varies

 

$1.00 per day per customer and automatic suspension of business registration

Requesting dispatch on suspended alarm site – PCC 8.64.090 E.; PCC 8.64.130 B.

$200.00

Each occurrence

 

False Alarm due to onsite employee – PCC 8.64.110 E.

$100.00

Each occurrence

 

Non-Sufficient Funds Fine (Pierce County Budget and Finance Policy & Procedure Manual)

$25.00

Per check

For dishonored checks