GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-4000
A. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users and alarm businesses to assume increased responsibility for maintaining the mechanical reliability and the proper use of alarm systems, to prevent unnecessary police emergency response to false alarms, and thereby contribute to the protection of the emergency response capability of the City.
B. This chapter governs burglary and, robbery alarm systems, requires permits, establishes fees, provides for fines for excessive false alarms, provides for discontinuation of police response to alarms, provides for punishment of violations and establishes a system of administration.
A. "Alarm Business" means the business by any individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system or causing to be sold, leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any alarm system in or on any building, structure or facility.
B. "Alarm System" means any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to signal the occurrence of an illegal entry or other activity requiring urgent attention and to which police may respond. The system may or may not be interconnected to an "automatic dialing device."
C. "Alarm User" means the person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind which owns, controls or occupies any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm system is maintained.
D. "Automatic Dialing Device" means a device that is interconnected between an "alarm system" and a telephone line and is programmed to select a predetermined telephone number and transmit by voice message or code signal an emergency message indicating a need for emergency response.
E. "Bureau of Emergency Communications" is the City/County facility used to receive emergency and general information from the public to be dispatched to the respective police departments utilizing the Bureau.
F. "Burglary Alarm System" means an alarm system signaling an entry or attempted entry into the area protected by the system.
G. "Chief" means the Chief of the City of Portland's Bureau of Police or his/her designated representative.
H. "Sheriff" means Sheriff of Multnomah County or his designated representative.
I. "Coordinator" means the individual designated by the Chief of Police to issue permits and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
J. "False Alarm" means an alarm signal which announces a need for emergency services when no such need exists. This does not include an alarm signal caused by violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm business operator or alarm user.
K. "Interconnect" means to connect an alarm system including an automatic dialing device to a telephone line, either directly or through a mechanical device that utilizes a telephone, for the purpose of using the telephone line to transmit a message upon the activation of the alarm system.
L. "Primary Trunk Line" means a telephone line serving the Bureau of Emergency Communications that is designated to receive emergency calls.
M. "Robbery Alarm System" means an alarm system signaling a robbery or attempted robbery.
N. "Response" occurs when the Bureau of Emergency Communications treats an alarm signal as a valid alarm. When treating an alarm signal as valid, the Bureau of Emergency Communications may dispatch police officers to investigate the alarm signal as call load, staffing levels, and distance allow.
O. "Sound Emission Cutoff Feature" means a feature of an alarm system which will cause an audible alarm to stop emitting sound.
P. "System Becomes Operative" means when the alarm system is capable of eliciting a response by police.
Q. "Economically Disadvantaged Person" means a person receiving public assistance and/or food stamps.
It is unlawful for a person having control of premises where a burglar alarm or fire alarm sprinkler system exists to fail to have conspicuously posted, where it may be plainly seen by persons outside the premises, the name, address, and telephone number of a person who possesses a key and has access to the premises.
A. After the second false alarm the Coordinator shall send a notification to the alarm user by regular mail, which will contain the following information:
1. That the second false alarm has occurred;
2. That if four or more false alarms occur within the permit year, the Coordinator will direct the Bureau of Emergency Communications to suspend response to further alarm signals;
3. That the approval of the Chief of Police of reinstatement of alarm response can only be obtained by applying in writing for reinstatement and that the Chief of Police may reinstate alarm response only upon finding that reasonable effort has been made to correct the false alarms;
4. That the alarm user has the right to contest the validity of a false alarm determination by requesting a False Alarm Validity Hearing, and that a request for such a hearing will stay the effect of a false alarm determination and must be in writing and filed within ten days of the receipt of the Notice of Alarm.
B. After the fourth false alarm within the permit year the Coordinator shall direct the Bureau of Emergency Communications to suspend response to subsequent alarms unless instructed to respond by the of the Chief of Police pursuant to 14B.1.060 D. The Coordinator shall send a Notice of Suspension of Response to:
1. The Bureau of Emergency Communication; and
2. The alarm user by certified mail.
C. The suspension of response to an alarm shall begin ten days after mailing of the Notice of Suspension of Response to the alarm user unless a written request for a False Alarm Validity Hearing has been made as delivered to the Coordinator.
D. The Chief of Police shall order the Coordinator to reinstate an alarm response if the user makes a written application for reinstatement and the Chief finds that reasonable effort has been made to correct the problem(s) which led to the false alarms.
An alarm user required by federal, state, county or municipal statute, regulation, rule or ordinance to install, maintain and operate an alarm system shall be subject to Chapter, provided:
A. A permit shall be designated a special alarm user’s permit.
B. A special alarm user’s permit for a system which has four false alarms in a permit year shall not be subject to the no response procedure specified but shall pay the regular fine schedule according to this Chapter.
C. The payment of any fine provided for in paragraph B of this Subsection shall not be deemed to extend the term of the permit.
A. Every alarm business selling, leasing or furnishing to any user an alarm system which is installed on the premises located in the area subject to this Chapter shall furnish the user with instruction that provides information to enable the user to operate the alarm system at any time. The alarm business shall also inform each alarm user of the requirement to obtain a permit and where it can be obtained.
B. Standard form instruction shall be submitted by every alarm business to the Coordinator. If the Coordinator reasonably finds such instructions to be incomplete, misleading, unclear or inadequate, the Coordinator may require the alarm business to revise the instruction to comply with this Chapter and then to distribute the revised instruction to its alarm users.
A. It is unlawful for any person to program an automatic dialing device to select a primary trunk line and it is unlawful for an alarm user to fail to disconnect or reprogram an automatic dialing device which is programmed to select a primary trunk line within 12 hours of receipt of written notice from the Coordinator that it is so programmed.
B. It is unlawful for any person to program an automatic dialing device to select any telephone line assigned to the City and it is unlawful for an alarm user to fail to disconnect or reprogram such device within 12 hours of receipt of written notice from the Coordinator that an automatic dialing is so programmed.
A. An alarm user may challenge the validity of a false alarm determination by the Coordinator by appealing the determination and asking for a hearing on the matter before the Chief of Police. The appeal must be in writing and must be submitted to the Coordinator within ten days of the alarm user having received Notice of False Alarm. Failure to contest the determination in the required time period results in a conclusive presumption that the alarm was false.
B. If a hearing is requested, written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be served on the user by the Chief of Police by certified mail at least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, which date shall not be more than 21 nor less than 10 days after the filing of the request for hearing.
C. The hearing shall be before the Chief of Police or his/her designated representatives. The Coordinator and the alarm user shall have the right to present written and oral evidence, subject to the right of cross-examination. If the Chief of Police determines that the false alarms alleged have or have not occurred in a permit year, the Chief of Police shall issue written findings waiving, expunging or entering a false alarm designation on an alarm user’s record as appropriate. If false alarm designations are entered on the alarm user’s record, the Coordinator shall pursue fine collection as set out in this Chapter.
D. Failure to appear at a scheduled hearing without providing prior notice and cause for rescheduling a hearing will be justification for immediate suspension of the permit. Thereafter a new hearing may be scheduled after submission of a written request to the Chief of Police.
A. Alarm systems which can be heard outside the building, structure or facility of the alarm user shall be equipped with a sound emission cutoff feature which will stop the emission of sound 15 minutes or less after the alarm is activated.
B. When an alarm system may be heard outside a building, structure or facility for more than 15 minutes continuously or intermittently, and the alarm owner or alarm company is not readily available or able to silence the device, the Portland Police Bureau is authorized to enter the premises and physically disconnect the sounding device. The alarm owner shall be liable for the cost of, or associated with, disconnecting the alarm. Neither the City nor its officers, agents or employees shall be liable for such costs.
C. The alarm owner shall be liable for cost of reconnecting the alarm. Neither the City nor its officer, agents or employees shall be liable for such cost.
A. All information submitted in compliance with this Chapter shall be held in the strictest confidence and shall be deemed a public record exempt from disclosure pursuant to ORS 192.502. The Coordinator shall be charged with the sole responsibility for the maintenance of all records of any kind whatsoever under this Chapter.
B. Subject to the requirements of confidentiality, the Coordinator shall develop and maintain statistics having the purpose of assisting alarm system evaluation for use by members of the public.
A. Enforcement of this ordinance may be by civil action as provided in ORS 30.315, or by criminal prosecution.
B. Violation of this ordinance shall be punishable upon conviction by a fine of not more than $500.
C. The failure or omission to comply with any section of this ordinance shall be deemed a violation and may be so prosecuted, subject to the penalty provided in paragraph B. of this Section.
No liability shall accrue to the City of Portland, the Bureau of Police, or its officers, employees, or agents for any loss or injury due to alleged untimely response or no response to an alarm signal under a valid permit.