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Alarm Permits


  • 8.15.010    Purpose.
  • 8.15.020    Definitions.
  • 8.15.030    Rules and regulations.
  • 8.15.040    Duties of an alarm business.
  • 8.15.050    Duties of an alarm subscriber.
  • 8.15.060    Duties of a proprietor alarm owner/operator.
  • 8.15.070    Permits and exemptions.
  • 8.15.080    Suspension or revocation of permits – Appeals.
  • 8.15.090    License prohibitions.
  • 8.15.100    Alarm subscriber permits.
  • 8.15.110    Warning notice.
  • 8.15.120    Police review of false alarms.
  • 8.15.130    Appeal procedures.
  • 8.15.140    Alarm system prohibitions.
  • 8.15.150    Grace period.
  • 8.15.160    Inspection, service activation.
  • 8.15.170    Prohibition of automatic or pre-recorded messages on signals directly to the City of Evansville.
  • 8.15.180    Disbursement of permit fees and fines generated by enforcement of this chapter.

8.15.010 Purpose.

This chapter is intended to regulate the activities and responsibilities of those persons who purchase, rent or use and those persons who own or conduct the business of selling, renting, maintaining or monitoring alarm systems, devices or services. It is further intended to encourage the improvement in reliability of those systems, devices, and services and to ensure that Police Department personnel will not be unduly diverted from responding to actual criminal activity as a result of responding to false alarms. This chapter specifically encompasses burglar alarms, robbery alarms, and holdup alarms both audible and inaudible (silent). The provisions of this chapter, except EMC 8.15.100(D) shall not apply to alarm systems which are owned or installed for the benefit of the Federal, State or local government on property in which the governmental entity has a property interest. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.01.]

        8.15.020        Definitions. 

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words or phrases shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Act of nature” means an unusual, extraordinary, sudden and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature which cannot be prevented by reasonable human care, skill or foresight.

“Alarm” or “alarm system” means any electric instrument(s) or other device(s) which as one of its purposes is used to protect buildings, premises or persons from criminal acts or unauthorized entries by warning persons of a crime or unauthorized entry through the emission or transmission of a sound or signal.

“Alarm agent” means any person who is employed by an alarm business either directly or indirectly, whose duties include any of the following: maintaining, servicing, repairing any alarm or alarm system in or on any building, place or premises. Any person whose duties consist solely of resetting an alarm following activation shall not be deemed to be an alarm agent.

“Alarm business” means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity who (which) owns or conducts the business of any one or more of the following: selling, leasing, renting, maintaining or monitoring alarm systems, devices or services.

“Alarm subscriber” means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other business who (which) leases, rents or purchases any monitored alarm system, device or service from an alarm business or who (which) leases or rents an audible alarm system or device.

“Audible alarm” means a device designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry on premises and which when activated generates an audible sound on the premises.

“Automatic dialer” means any electrical, electronic, mechanical or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message, when activated or if self-activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system, to the Police or Fire Departments.

“Common cause” means a common technical difficulty or malfunction which causes an alarm system to generate a series of false alarms. Said series of false alarms shall be counted as one false alarm only if the false alarms have all occurred within a 72-hour period, the responsible alarm business has documented, to the Police Chief, the action taken to rectify the cause and the 30-day grace period expires with the alarm system generating no additional false alarms from the documented cause.

“False alarms” means any activation of an alarm not caused by or as a result of a criminal act or unauthorized entry, except for activation for testing purposes when the Police Department has been given advance notice of such testing, or activation caused by the Police Department.

“Monitored alarm” means a device designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry in premises and which when activated generates an inaudible signal to a monitoring station. A monitored alarm may also generate an audible sound on the premises.

“Proprietor alarm” means any alarm or alarm system which is not leased or rented from, or owned or maintained under contract by, an alarm business.

“Robbery, holdup or panic alarm” means a device designed for the detection of a robbery, holdup or the commission of an unlawful act within the premises protected by the alarm system and which may be intentionally activated by a person, generates an inaudible signal to the monitoring station and may or may not generate an audible sound at the premises. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.02.]

 8.15.030  Rules and regulations.

The Board of Public Safety is authorized to make reasonable rules and regulations to implement the provisions and purposes of this chapter. The Police Chief shall administer the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.03.]

 8.15.040  Duties of an alarm business.

The duties of an alarm business shall be as follows:

(A) To install an alarm or alarm system compatible with the environment and be available to maintain the alarm or alarm system in good working order and to take reasonable measures to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.

(B) To instruct each of its alarm subscribers and/or the principal occupants of the buildings or premises protected by an alarm system in the proper use and operation of the system. Such instructions will specifically include all necessary instructions in turning the alarm on and off and in avoiding false alarms.

(C) To provide each purchaser and subscriber with a copy of the provisions of this chapter relating to alarm subscriber duties, false alarm assessments and appeal procedures.

(D) Upon leasing or renting an alarm system:

(1) To maintain records of the location of these alarm systems, devices or services and the name and telephone number of the person and alternates to be notified whenever the alarm is activated and to readily report such information to the Police Department upon request;

(2) To inactivate or cause to be inactivated the audible alarm within 15 minutes of the notification of its activation in the event the primary and alternates cannot be contacted or do not respond.

(E) Upon leasing, renting, selling or monitoring an alarm system:

(1) To establish a central receiving station in order to monitor these alarm systems;

(2) To organize its central receiving station in order to be able to readily and positively identify the type of alarm, i.e., burglary, robbery, holdup or panic, and the location of the alarm, if there is more than one system;

(3) To maintain records as to each of these alarm systems, devices or services which should include the name of the owner or occupant of the premises, and the name and telephone number of the subscriber, or primary person and alternates responsible for responding to the premises when the alarm system includes an audible alarm;

(4) To make notification of activated alarm systems in the manner prescribed by the Police Chief, including such reasonable information concerning the alarm system as the Police Department may request;

(5) To arrange for either the alarm subscriber, alarm agent or other responsible representative to go to the premises of an activated alarm system within 30 minutes of the activation of the alarm in order to be available to assist the police in determining the reason for the activation and securing the premises. In no event shall there be an unreasonable delay in arriving at the location of the alarm.

(F) To cease responsibility for an alarm system pursuant to this chapter, the alarm business shall promptly notify the Police Department in the event the alarm business ceases to lease, rent, maintain, service or monitor any alarm system. Said notice shall be sent within 10 days of the date service or responsibility is discontinued.

(G) Alarm businesses which do not monitor, maintain, service or install alarms or alarm systems shall not be subject to subsection (A), (B), (C), (D), (E) or (F) of this section, but shall be responsible for instructing each person who purchases an alarm or alarm system in the proper use and operation of the alarm, informing each alarm subscriber or alarm purchaser to contact the Evansville Police Department for information regarding this chapter, and advising each alarm subscriber or alarm purchaser of the requirement of an alarm subscriber permit. Such instructions will specifically include all necessary instructions in turning off said alarm(s) and in avoiding false alarms.

(H) Alarm businesses which monitor but do not sell, lease, rent, install, service or maintain alarms or alarm systems shall not be subject to subsection (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this section, but shall inform each alarm subscriber or alarm proprietor that an alarm subscriber permit is required by this chapter.

(I) Alarm businesses which sell or install alarms or alarm systems but do not lease, rent, monitor, service or maintain them shall not be subject to subsection (A), (D), (E) or (F) of this section, but shall inform each alarm subscriber or alarm proprietor that an alarm subscriber permit is required by this chapter. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.04.]

8.15.050 Duties of an alarm subscriber.

The duties of an alarm subscriber shall be as follows:

(A) To instruct all personnel who are authorized to place the system or device into operation in the appropriate method of operation, and to lock and secure all points of entry, such as doors and windows.

(B) To inform all personnel who are authorized to place the alarm system into operation of the provisions of this chapter emphasizing the importance of avoiding false alarms. A current copy of the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained on the premises and be made available to persons who are authorized to place an alarm system into operation.

(C) To apply for an alarm subscriber permit from the Evansville Police Department.

(D) To respond to the scene of an activated alarm within 30 minutes of the alarm activation after being notified by the subscriber’s alarm company or the Evansville Police Department. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.05.]

8.15.060 Duties of a proprietor alarm owner/operator.

The owner/operator of a proprietor alarm shall have the following duties:

(A) To be familiar with the provisions of this chapter and to apply for an alarm subscriber permit from the Evansville Police Department.

(B) To maintain the alarm or alarm system in good working order and take reasonable measures to prevent the occurrence of false alarms.

(C) To notify the alarm business of the name and telephone number of the primary person and alternates to be notified in case the alarm is activated.

(D) Upon the purchase of any alarm system, device or service which includes an audible alarm:

(1) To notify the alarm business of the name, address and telephone number of the primary person and at least one alternate who should be notified when the alarm is activated.

(2) To inactivate or cause to be inactivated the alarm system within 15 minutes of notification of its activation. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 1, passed 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.06.]

8.15.070 Permits and exemptions.

(A) This chapter shall not apply to audible alarms affixed to motor vehicles.

(B) A permit from the City shall be required by each alarm business and alarm agent.

(C) Every alarm business shall pay an initial application fee of $240.00 and a permit fee of $120.00 per calendar year (prorated to the nearest month).

(D) Every alarm agent shall pay an application/permit fee of $35.00.

(E) Alarm business permits shall be renewed on or before January 1st of each year. An alarm agent permit shall be effective until canceled or surrendered as provided herein.

(F) The application for each of these permits shall be submitted to the office of the alarm coordinator utilizing the format as may be prescribed by the Chief of Police.

(G) The application for an alarm business permit shall include:

(1) The name, address and telephone number of the alarm business;

(2) The names and address of the alarm agents employed by the alarm business.

(H) The application for alarm agent permit shall include:

(1) The name and address of the individual applying for the permit;

(2) The alarm business for which the applicant is employed;

(3) Whether the applicant has been convicted of any felonies.

(I) All applications shall be approved unless it is determined that the applicant is not qualified for a permit because:

(1) The applicant has knowingly and willfully given false information on the application; or

(2) The applicant or any of his (its) officers has violated a provision of this chapter; or

(3) The applicant or any of his (its) officers has been convicted of a felony.

(J) A copy of the alarm business permit shall be at all times physically present at the alarm business’ central station or office and shall be available for inspection by the Police Department.

(K) Each alarm agent shall carry on his person at all times while so employed a valid alarm agent permit and shall display the same to any police officer upon request.

(L) If an alarm agent terminates his employment with an alarm business, except as provided in subsection (M) of this section, such permit shall be surrendered to such alarm business within five days thereafter; it shall be mailed or delivered by the alarm business to the Police Chief for cancellation. Should the alarm agent fail to surrender his permit to the alarm business, the alarm business shall give notice to the Police Chief that the agent has been terminated and has failed to surrender his permit.

(M) If an alarm agent terminates his employment with an alarm business for the purpose of transferring employment to another alarm business permittee, he shall surrender his permit as provided in subsection (L) of this section and shall advise the Police Chief who shall issue him a temporary permit, after employment verification, until such time as a new permit is issued to him. Both the temporary and the new permit shall be issued to the alarm agent without charge. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 2, passed 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.07.]

8.15.080 Suspension or revocation of permits – Appeals.

(A) The Chief of Police may suspend or revoke an alarm business or alarm agent permit on any of the following grounds:

(1) Failure of the permittee to comply with the requirements of this chapter;

(2) Conviction of the permittee or any of its officers of a felony;

(3) When the permittee or any of his (its) officers, employees or agents has knowingly made any false, misleading or fraudulent statement of a material fact in any report or record required pursuant to this chapter.

(B) The suspension or revocation may be appealed to the Board of Public Safety in accordance with the provisions in EMC 8.15.130. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.08.]

8.15.090 License prohibitions.

(A) If the Police Department has recorded an alarm for a subscriber and the alarm business for that subscriber has not applied for and received a permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter:

(1) The Police Department shall issue a warning to the alarm business stating that the alarm business is in violation of the provisions of this chapter. The warning shall direct the alarm business to apply for a City of Evansville alarm business permit within 10 days.

(2) If the alarm business applies for and receives an alarm business permit as required in subsection (A)(1) of this section, no assessment shall be made at that time.

(3) If the alarm business does not apply for an alarm business permit as required, an assessment shall be made pursuant to subsection (A)(4) of this section.

(4) An alarm business which fails to apply for an alarm business permit as required by this subsection shall be assessed a fee in the amount of $500.00 per alarm activation. The alarm business shall tender the fee assessed within 20 days of the date ordered by the Police Department.

(5) If a person applies for an alarm business permit as required in subsection (A)(1) of this section and the alarm business permit is not approved, it shall be unlawful for the person to engage in, conduct or carry on an alarm business.

(B) It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to engage in, represent himself to be, or operate as, an alarm agent without first applying for and receiving a permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.09.]

8.15.100 Alarm subscriber permits.

(A) Every alarm subscriber and proprietor alarm owner shall apply for and receive an alarm subscriber permit from the City of Evansville Police Department. Application shall be made with the Police Department for a permit within 10 days of the installation date of a new alarm system. Alarm subscriber permits will be on forms approved by the Police Department and shall be accompanied by a $20.00 permit fee. An alarm subscriber permit shall be available for inspection by the Police Department. Permits are not transferable from one subscriber or proprietor to another subscriber, or from one address to another address. An alarm subscriber permit shall be valid for five years from the date of issuance.

(B) If the residential alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner is over the age of 65 and is the primary resident of the residence and if no business is conducted in the residence, an alarm subscriber permit shall be issued by the Police Department without the payment of the fee.

(C) If the residential alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner of record is permanently physically disabled and is the primary resident of the residence and if no business is conducted in the residence, an alarm subscriber permit shall be issued by the Police Department without the payment of a fee upon submission of a statement in writing by a physician licensed to practice medicine that the residential alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner has a permanent physical impairment which substantially limits his or her ability to move from place to place.

(D) Alarm systems which are leased, rented, owned or maintained by any governmental entity and installed on premises in which the entity has a property interest shall be subject to this chapter and shall be required to obtain a permit, but a permit shall be issued without payment of the fee.

(E) If an alarm subscriber has multiple alarm systems at one location, an alarm subscriber permit for each separate address location will be required.

(F) When the Police Department has recorded an alarm for a subscriber or proprietor alarm owner which has not applied for an alarm subscriber permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter:

(1) The Police Department shall send a notice to the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner stating that they are in violation of the provisions of this chapter. The notice will direct the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner to apply for the alarm subscriber permit within 10 days of the date of the notice. This notice shall notify the party that, in addition to any fines imposed pursuant to EMC 8.15.120, the failure to obtain the alarm subscriber permit shall result in a fine of $100.00 for each alarm which has occurred while the alarm system has operated without an alarm subscriber permit.

(2) If the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner applies for an alarm subscriber permit, the $100.00 per alarm fine will not be imposed. If the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner fails to apply for the alarm subscriber permit within the 10 days of the date of the notice, a $100.00 fine will be sent to the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner for each alarm which has occurred while the system has operated without an alarm subscriber permit. The alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner shall tender the fine imposed within 20 days and apply for the alarm subscriber permit. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 3, passed 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.10.]

8.15.110 Warning notice.

When an alarm system generates two false alarms within a calendar year, the Police Department shall send a warning notice to the alarm subscriber. Subsequent false alarms within said period will subject the notified parties to the sanctions provided herein. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 4, 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.11.]

8.15.120 Police review of false alarms.

(A) Any alarm system which has three or more false alarms within a calendar year shall be subject to a fine as provided herein.

(B) If the Police Department records three or more false alarms within a calendar year:

(1) The Police Department shall notify the alarm subscriber by mail of such fact and direct that a report be submitted to the Police Chief within 20 days of the date of the mailing. The report shall contain:

(a) A description of the action taken or to be taken to discover and eliminate the cause of the false alarm.

(b) Specific defenses, if any, why the alleged false alarms should not be considered false alarms. Evidence that a false alarm was caused by an act of nature, common-cause or action of the telephone company shall constitute affirmative defenses to an assessment for the particular false alarm.

(2) The report required in subsection (B)(1) of this section shall be received by the Police Chief or his designee within the time specified. If the report is not timely submitted, any notified party shall be deemed to have waived his right to any further review or hearing as provided herein and the alarm business and the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner operating the alarm system generating the false alarms will be assessed pursuant to subsection (B)(5) of this section.

(3) If the report required in subsection (B)(1) of this section is submitted, the Police Chief or his designee shall review the corrective action taken or to be taken to discover and eliminate the cause of the false alarms. If it is determined that a valid defense to the initial determination of false alarms has been accepted, no assessments will be made at that time. The notice shall specifically set forth the findings and conclusions of the Police Chief with respect to the review of the report submitted.

(4) If the Police Chief or his designee determines that a defense to the initial determination of false alarms has not been alleged or accepted, a notice shall be sent forth by mail to the alarm subscriber or the proprietor alarm owner that they will be assessed pursuant to subsection (B)(5) of this section. The notice of decision shall contain the specific findings and conclusions of the Police Chief with respect to the review of the report submitted.

(5) The fine imposed pursuant to subsections (B)(2) and (4) of this section shall be in an amount of $55.00 per false alarm upon the third to the ninth alarms, $100.00 per alarm upon the tenth to the fourteenth alarms and $200.00 per alarm upon the fifteenth and each subsequent false alarm. The alarm subscriber will be responsible for the payment of any fines imposed upon their alarm system. The owner of a proprietor alarm shall be responsible for the payment of any assessment solely imposed upon a proprietor alarm system. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 5, passed 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.12.]

8.15.130 Appeal procedures.

(A) Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Chief of Police under EMC 8.15.080or a decision of the Police Chief or his designee made pursuant to EMC 8.15.120may, within 10 days of receipt of notice of the decision, appeal to the Board of Public Safety by filing an appeal with the Police Chief or his designee.

(B) The request for an appeal shall set forth the specific objections to the decision of the Police Chief or his designee.

(C) The Board of Public Safety shall set a time and place for the hearings as soon as practicable.

(D) The hearing process shall be conducted in an informal process:

(1) The Board of Public Safety shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence in the conduct of such hearings.

(2) All parties to the hearing shall have the right to present evidence in support of or in opposition to the decision of the Police Chief or his designee.

(E) The decision of the Board of Public Safety shall be based upon the evidence presented.

(F) When the decision of the Police Chief is affirmed on appeal involving an alarm subscriber and alarm business permittee, the Safety Board may designate the alarm subscriber or the alarm business permittee as solely responsible for the payment of the assessment. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.13.]

8.15.140 Alarm system prohibitions.

Upon a final determination of fine(s) pursuant to EMC 8.15.120or 8.15.130for the third and any subsequent false alarms within a calendar year, the responsible party shall tender the fee imposed within 20 days of the date ordered or discontinue operation of the alarm system. In the event the operation of said alarm system is not discontinued and the assessment not tendered, its continued operation by the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner is unlawful and the unpaid balance will be subject to a charge of one and one-half percent per month, compounded monthly, in addition to the assessment. If the fine is not paid within the 20-day period, the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner shall be issued a violation of City ordinance citation. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 6, passed 1-9-01; Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.14.]

8.15.150 Grace period.

(A) Newly installed and reinstalled alarm systems shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter relating to the counting and fines for false alarms for a period of 30 days from the date the alarm system becomes operational. For the purpose of this section, “reinstalled alarm system” means the installation of a new control panel.

(B) The grace period provided in subsection (A) of this section shall apply only if the alarm business, alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner notifies the Police Chief or his designee in writing within 10 days of the completion of installation or reinstallation and the alarm subscriber or proprietor alarm owner has applied for an alarm subscriber permit in accordance with EMC 8.15.100. The written notice shall specify the date the system was installed or reinstalled. For reinstalled alarm systems, the notice shall also describe the nature and extent of the reinstallation. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.15.]

8.15.160 Inspection, service activation.

(A) Each alarm system shall be inspected and serviced by the permittee at least once in each 12-month period. Records shall be maintained by the permittee for each alarm system showing dates of inspection and the name of the person making such inspection. Records shall be kept for a minimum of 12 months and be open to the Police Chief or his designee upon his request upon 72 hours’ notice served by U.S. mail.

(B) It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to intentionally activate any burglar, robbery, holdup or panic alarm, except to warn of a criminal act or unauthorized entry on or into an alarm-protected premises. This subsection shall not apply to the testing of an alarm system when the Police Department has been given advance notice of such testing. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.16.]

8.15.170 Prohibition of automatic or pre-recorded messages on signals directly to the City of Evansville.

No person shall use or cause to be used any telephone device or telephone attachment that automatically selects or dials a published emergency telephone number or any City of Evansville telephone number and then reproduces any prerecorded message or signal; provided, that this section shall not apply to a life safety alert system utilizing residential transmitting equipment designated for direct telephone access to dedicated control receiving equipment located in the EMS provider. [Ord. G-97-16, passed 10-6-97. 1983 Code § 11.120.17.]

8.15.180 Disbursement of permit fees and fines generated by enforcement of this chapter.

All permit fees and fines generated by the enforcement of the ordinance codified in this section, with the exception of court costs for City ordinance violation actions, will revert to Evansville Police Department accounts. These monies will be used to fund the operation costs of maintaining and enforcing this alarm ordinance as codified in this section. Disbursement of funds will be distributed at the discretion of the Chief of Police. [Ord. G-2000-31 § 7, passed 1-9-01. 1983 Code § 11.120.18.]