Coalinga City Ordinance 822

 AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COALINGA ADDING CHAPTER 7 TO TITLE 4 OF THE COALINGA MUNICIPAL CODE RELATED TO

PUBLIC SAFETY ALARM SYSTEMS

The City Council of the City of Coalinga does ordain as follows:

Section 1.    Chapter 7 of Title 4 of Coalinga Municipal Code is added to read as follows:

Title 4. Public Safety

Chapter 7. PUBLIC SAFETY ALARM SYSTEMS ORDINANCE

Sec. 4-7.100 Purpose and Intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to set forth regulations governing burglary, robbery, disturbance, fire, and medical alarm systems within the city to reduce false alarms and to provide the authority to establish fines for false alarms.

Sec. 4-7.200 Definitions.

  1. ALARM SYSTEM: Any equipment designed or intended to notify persons of an emergency at a particular location to which the Police Department/Fire Department is expected to respond; or for detection of an unauthorized entry or attempted entry into premises or a structure; or for alerting others to the commission of an unlawful act, or both. Alarm systems include, but are not limited to, silent alarms, audible alarms, and direct dial telephone devices. The following devices shall not constitute alarm systems within the meaning of this chapter:

(A)              Alarm devices affixed to motor vehicles, trailers or trailer coaches, vessels or  aircraft;

(B)              Alarm devices installed on a temporary basis by the Police Department/Fire Department.

2. ALARM USER: Any person who owns or is entitled to the possession of any premises or structure on which an alarm system has been installed.

3. AUDIBLE ALARM: A device designed for the detection of an unauthorized entry on, or an attempted entry into premises or a structure; or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act, or any equipment designed or intended to notify persons of an emergency at a particular location to which the Police Department/Fire Department is expected to respond, and which, when activated generates an audible sound on or off the premises.

4. AUTOMATIC DIALING SYSTEM: Any alarm system which automatically sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message indicating the existence of an emergency situation that the alarm system is designed to detect.

5. DIRECT CONNECT ALARMS: An alarm system that is capable of transmitting a signal to an agency maintained by a local governmental entity, including the City of Coalinga or its police/ fire department.

6. EXCESSIVE FALSE ALARMS: Those false alarms exceeding one within a calendar year.

7. FALSE ALARM: The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or maintenance, or the negligence of the owner, lesser or his or her employees or agents, which activates a response by law enforcement or other emergency response providers when an emergency condition does not exist; provided, however, alarms caused by acts of nature, bona fide power outages, or fire shall not be considered false alarms.

Sec. 4-7.300 Administrative procedures.

The City Manager, Chief of Police/ Fire Chief may promulgate such administrative procedures as may be necessary to implement this chapter.

Sec. 4-7.400 Unlawful Alarms.

(A)              Excessive False Alarms: It shall be unlawful for any person to use, operate or maintain an alarm system within the city that emits excessive false alarms.

(B)              Unlawful Alarms in Excess of Fifteen Minutes: It shall be unlawful for any audible alarm to not automatically cease transmission within fifteen (15) minutes of activation. Should the alarm fail to silence after twenty (20) minutes, and the Police Department/Fire Department is unable to contact the user or his representative, the Police Department/Fire Department will cause an alarm agent or company to respond and silence the alarm. All costs for silencing the alarm shall be the responsibility of the alarm user. The costs to silence the alarm shall be a charge against the alarm user and shall constitute a debt of that person and is collectible by the city in the same manner as in the case of an obligation under a contract, express or implied.

(C)              Direct Dial or Connection to Police Department/Fire Department: It shall be unlawful for automatic dialing systems, direct connection alarms or other direct dial alarms to dial or connect to the Coalinga Police Department/Fire Department directly.

Sec. 4-7.500 Enforcement/Penalties.

(A)              Infraction: It shall be unlawful for any person to install, use or maintain any alarm system contrary to or in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter. Any person violating the provisions of this chapter is guilty of an infraction.

(B)              Violations: The occurrence of false alarms shall result in a charge or termination of the Police Department/Fire Department response service as follows: For any five (5) false alarms within any thirty (30) day period, or for any one additional false alarm within a total sixty (60) day period from the first false alarm within a total of ninety (90) days from the first false alarm, or for any ten (10) false alarms within one hundred eighty (180) day period, the following charges shall be imposed: twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense; Fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense; and One Hundred dollars ($100.00) for the third and any subsequent offenses. However, notwithstanding the provision of such charges, the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief/Fire Chief may review the frequency of false alarms in any case and where excessive, or where he determines that inadequate efforts have been made to correct a false alarm problem, he may discontinue response to such alarms by the Police Department/Fire Department after having first given notice to the alarm subscriber allowing said subscriber an opportunity to be heard prior to the termination of response by the Department. Any subscriber who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief/Fire Chief may appeal such decision to the City Council by filing written request for a hearing within five (5) days after the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief renders his decision. In the event the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief determines that response shall be terminated such term shall become effective on the date of the notice of decision issued by the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief and shall remain effective until such time as rescinded by Chief of Police/ Fire Chief or modified or rescinded by City Council upon appeal.

(C)              Exceptions: The following exceptions shall be considered in reviewing any false alarm situation.

  1. A thirty (30) days adjustment period to correct mechanical problems may be allowed for any new, improved or replaced alarm system.
  1. Where the false alarms in question were the result of conditions beyond the control of the user, and were not the result of negligence of himself or his employees or agents, or where such false alarms resulted from defects in the system of which the user neither had knowledge nor in the exercise of reasonable care should have had knowledge, then the Chief of Police/ Fire Chief may determine that no charge or termination shall be effected.

(D)              Notice: Should any users violate these provisions; the enforcing authority shall notify the subscriber and the alarm company operator providing service or inspection to the user of such fact by mail. The enforcing authority will also notify the user of any surcharges or intent to discontinue police service.

Sec. 4-7.700 Appeals.

In order to prevent or lessen the unnecessary hardship of practical difficulties in exceptional cases where it is difficult or impossible to comply with the strict letter of this Chapter, the subscriber or alarm company operator have the option to apply for an exemption from any provision of this Chapter to the City Council. The City Council shall exercise its powers on these matters in such a way that the public welfare is secured, and substantial justice done most nearly in accord with the intent and purpose of this Chapter.

Sec. 4-7.700 Severability.

If any provision of this Chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Chapter which can be given without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Chapter are severable

Sec. 4-7.800 Alarm Requirements and Provisions.

(A)              Alarm System, Automatic Dialing Devices: It shall be unlawful for any person except a public utility engaged in the business of providing communication services and facilities to use or operate, attempt to use or operate, or cause to be used or operated, or arrange, adjust, program, or otherwise provide, or to install any alarm system that will upon activation, either mechanically, electronically, or by other automatic means, initiate a call and deliver a recorded message to any telephone number assigned to any subscriber by a public telephone without the prior written consent of the subscriber. In no event will an automatic dialing device terminate in a police or fire facility.

(B)              Radio Transmission Alarms: A radio transmission alarm is any device or alarm when activated, sends a prerecorded message over any public safety radio frequency. Radio transmission alarms will not be allowed for use in the City.

(C)              Monitoring Of Silent Alarms: Alarm companies that currently have alarms installed at the Coalinga Police Department/Fire Department will have a period of sixty (60) days effective date of this Chapter to remove and relocate these alarms.

Sec. 4-7.900 Civil Remedies Available.

The violation of any of the sections of this chapter shall constitute a nuisance and may be abated by the city through civil process by means of a restraining order, by preliminary or permanent injunction, or in any other manner provided by law for the abatement of such nuisances.

Section 2.    This ordinance shall take effect thirty days after its adoption.

Section 3.   The City Clerk is authorized and directed to cause this ordinance or a summary of this ordinance to be published in a newspaper of general circulation published and circulated in the City of Coalinga, within 15 days after its adoption. If a summary of this ordinance is published, then the City Clerk shall cause a certified copy of the full text of the proposed ordinance to be posted in the office of the City Clerk at least five days prior to the September 20th, 2018 meeting at which the ordinance is adopted and again after the meeting at which the ordinance is adopted. The summary shall become effective 30 days after its adoption.

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