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Ordinance Guide - Burglar and Fire Alarms

Burglar and Fire Alarms


ARTICLE II. FIRE ALARM SERVICES

DIVISION 1. GENERAL FIRE ALARM PROCESS*

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*Editor's note: Section 2 of Ord. No. 02-527, adopted June 19, 2002, added Div. 1 title to read as set out. Said section also renumbered §§ 11-16--11-20 as §§ 11-6--11-10.

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Sec. 11-6...... Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Fire alarm protective service. Any service whereby any person provides or employs electronic or mechanical means to detect the presence of fire on any premises in the city, the report of which is then transmitted to or through the communication system of the fire department or which system is in any manner connected with the fire alarm communication system of the fire department. The term also means the activity of maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing in or on any building, place or premises any device designed or used for detection of fire.
Local alarm. A protective signaling system so designed and operated that (1) the equipment for detecting fire, smoke or heat, or for manually activating the alarm and (2) the equipment for signaling a warning thereof by bell, horn, siren or other means are located on the particular premises being protected.
Person. A person as defined in section 1-2 of this Code other than the city.
(Ord. No. 02-527, §§ 2, 3, 6-19-02; Ord. No. 03-1101, § 2, 11-12-03)
Note: Formerly, § 11-16.

Sec. 11-7. Automatic telephone devices.
No person shall use or permit the use of any telephone device or telephone attachment which automatically selects any city telephone trunkline or number leading into the fire department or other offices of the city and then transmits any prerecorded fire alarm message or signal which indicates the presence or possibility of the presence of a fire at any location.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 2, 6-19-02)
Note: Formerly, § 11-17.

Sec. 11-8. Standards.
(a) The fire chief may establish minimum standards and permit fire alarm protective services which meet those standards to connect their systems directly to the dispatcher's office of the fire department by dedicated telephone line when he finds that the methods of operations of companies meeting such standards will give reasonable assurance that the use of such connections will not impose a burden on the fire department.
(b) No person shall operate a fire alarm protective service unless it complies in all respects, including the maintenance of runners and appropriate record keeping systems, with the applicable requirements set out in N.F.P.A. Pamphlet No. 71, 1977 edition, entitled "Central Station Signaling Systems" and complies with the applicable requirements of state laws, rules and regulations.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 2, 6-19-02)
Note: Formerly, § 11-18.

Sec. 11-9. Dispatch personnel.
All fire alarm protective services shall provide the necessary personnel giving them the capability to respond, upon request by any member of the fire department, to the scene of an activated alarm 24 hours of each day, Saturdays and Sundays included. It shall be unlawful for such fire alarm protective service to fail to dispatch personnel, after being notified that such alarm is sounding, to come to the premises to shut off such alarm or to assist firemen in an inspection of the premises.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 2, 6-19-02)
Note: Formerly, § 11-19.

Sec. 11-10. Local alarms.
No local alarm shall make a sound similar to that of a siren on emergency vehicles or similar to a civil defense warning system. The permit holder and person in control as defined in Article II of Chapter 11, shall ensure that a clearly legible notice is posted and maintained upon the exterior of the structure at or near the location of such alarm, stating the name and telephone number of the person designated to be notified to render repairs or service during any hour of the day or night that such alarm sounds, signals or activates. Such notice shall be posted in such a position as to be readable by a person of average height from the ground level adjacent to the structure. It shall be unlawful for such designated person, after being notified that the local alarm is sounding, signaling or otherwise activated, to refuse to come to the premises to shut off such alarm or to assist firemen in an inspection of the premises.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 2, 6-19-02; Ord. No. 03-1101, § 3, 11-12-03)
Note: Formerly, § 11-20.
DIVISION 2. FIRE ALARM PERMITS; FALSE FIRE ALARM FEES

Sec. 11-11. Definitions.
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this division, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Alarm actuating device means any mechanical, electrical, electronic or radio-controlled alarm device designed or intended to, or that does emit a sound or transmit a signal or message when activated because of smoke, heat, or fire to summon, or that would reasonably be expected to summon, or cause to be summoned, directly or indirectly, fire response services of the city. The term includes a local alarm.
Alarm site means the premises or location where the alarm system(s) is installed or operated.
Alarm system means one or more alarm actuating devices controlled by one person and designed to function together and to be monitored together for protection of one alarm site. Alarm systems are classified as follows:
(1) Group A means an alarm system with not more than ten alarm actuating devices;
(2) Group B means an alarm system with not less than 11 nor more than 100 alarm actuating devices; and
(3) Group C means an alarm system with 101 or more alarm actuating devices.
Applicant means the person who makes application to be the permit holder of the alarm system.
False fire alarm means an incident in which the operation of an alarm system elicits an emergency response by the fire department when a situation requiring such a response by the fire department did not in fact exist. The term does not include an otherwise false alarm if the fire chief determines that the false alarm was caused primarily by one or more of the following:
(1) Manual alarm notification to the fire department and the person actuating the alarm was acting under a reasonable belief that smoke or fire existed; or
(2) Any cause clearly unrelated to the proper maintenance, use or operation of the alarm system that is beyond the control of the permit holder.
False fire alarm response. For purposes of this division, the fire department is deemed to have made an emergency response to the false fire alarm at the moment that it receives notice of an alarm that is subsequently determined or deemed to be a false fire alarm.
Fire chief means the chief of the fire department or his designee(s).
Permit holder means the person to whom an alarm system permit is issued who shall be a person in control of the premises where the alarm system is installed, maintained, or operated site.
Person in control means a person who owns, leases, possesses, resides at or manages the alarm site.
Single-family residential dwelling means a house, apartment, condominium, town home or similar dwelling unit (attached or detached) designed for occupancy by no more than one family and designed for living, sleeping, cooking and eating therein unless actually occupied or used primarily for other purposes. The term does not include day care centers, or units of hotels, "all-suites" and "suites hotels", motels or similar transient housing facilities. The term also does not include units of a residential apartment complex, condominium, town home or other multi-unit housing facility if a centrally monitored fire alarm system protects two or more individual apartment units or suites.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02; Ord. No. 03-1101, §§ 4, 5, 11-12-03)

Sec. 11-12. Permit required.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to operate, cause to be operated, or allow the operation of an alarm system unless a valid permit issued in accordance with this division is in effect for that system. All persons in control of any part of the alarm site are deemed to have operated or caused or allowed to be operated the alarm system and shall be jointly and severally liable for payment of response fees.
Note: Section 11-12(a) as adopted by Ord. No. 02-527, shall become effective on the 180th day next following the date that this ordinance is passed and approved. All other provisions of this ordinance shall take effect immediately. To allow for orderly implementation of this ordinance, and so any person who requires a permit under this ordinance will have an opportunity to avoid penalties and fees imposed by this ordinance for failure to have a valid permit, the fire chief or his designees shall begin accepting and processing properly submitted applications for permits on the 120th day prior to the effective date of the delayed sections. If application for a permit for an alarm system has been submitted and the required permit fee paid prior to the effective date of the delayed sections, no person shall be subject to enforcement of the delayed sections in connection with the alarm system until after the effective date of the delayed sections and the earlier of the date the fire chief 1) issues a permit for the alarm system, or 2) mails a denial of permit notice to the applicant at the address set out in the application.
(b) The issuance of a permit authorizing the use of an alarm system is not intended to nor shall it create a contract, either express or implied, creating a duty or guarantee of. Any and all liability and consequential damages resulting from responding or the failure to respond to a fire alarm are hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained.
(c) The fire chief shall have the right to inspect any alarm system at the alarm site at any reasonable time to determine whether it is being used in conformity with this division.
(d) It is an affirmative defense to civil or criminal liability under this division that the alarm system is operated solely for the protection of one single-family residential dwelling.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02; Ord. No. 03-1101, § 6, 11-12-03)

Sec. 11-13. Same--Application.
(a) Application for a permit authorizing the operation of an alarm system shall be made in writing to the fire department on forms designated for that purpose. On such application shall be set forth:
(1) The name, address, telephone number(s), federal employee identification number, state sales tax number, corporate charter number, and Texas driver's license number (if applicable) of the applicant.
(2) Copies of the assumed-name registration if the alarm site will be operated under an assumed name; the partnership registration, if any, and the names and addresses of all general partners if the permit holder is a partnership; the Texas corporate charter or certificate of authority to do business in Texas if a foreign corporation, along with the names and addresses of all officers and the registered agent.
(3) The street address of the alarm site at which the alarm system is or will be installed and operated, including the particular suite, apartment, unit, or other similar occupancy number(s) or designation(s), if applicable.
(4) Any business names used for the alarm site.
(5) The name of the alarm system business or other person that has installed or will install and monitor the alarm system.
(6) In addition to the permit holder,
a. The names and telephone numbers of two individuals, or the name and local telephone number of an alarm system business which are able to and have agreed to:
(i) Receive fire alarm notification at any time;
(ii) Come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the fire department to do so; and
(iii) Grant access to the alarm site and to deactivate the alarm system if such becomes necessary; or
b. The name and telephone number of an alarm system business that is able to and has agreed to receive calls at any time and to give the fire department the names of individuals listed with that company as set out below if:
(i) The permit holder has given the alarm system business the names and local telephone numbers of two individuals who are able and have agreed to receive fire alarm notification at any time; to come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the fire department to do so; and to grant access to the alarm site and to deactivate the alarm system if necessary; and
(ii) The permit holder has authorized the alarm system business to provide the names listed with that business pursuant to section 11-13(a) of this Code to the fire department whenever that department has requested that information in order to obtain assistance after an alarm has been activated.
(7) Whether all fees due under this division owed to the city by the applicant, its partners, officers, and owners have been paid.
(8) Such other information as the fire chief may determine is necessary.
(b) The application shall be signed by an owner, officer, or partner of the applicant if the applicant is not an individual, or by the individual applicant for the permit acknowledging that he has read the application, affirming the correctness and accuracy of the information given on the application, and authorizing the release to the fire department of information specified in section 11-13(a) of this Code.
(c) The fire chief shall issue a permit upon submission of an application therefor in accordance with this division and payment of the permit fee, unless the fire chief finds that any statement made in the application was incomplete, misleading, or false; that the applicant, its partners, officers, and owners have not paid all fees due under this division owed to the city; that the alarm system installed at the alarm site has, or is of the type that is prohibited by division 1 of this article or of a type that has had a history of unreliability; or if the alarm site was previously non-permitted while under the control of the applicant, its partners, officers, and owners, and has outstanding false fire alarm fees owed to the city. The fire chief shall establish reasonable standards for determining reliability or unreliability of alarm systems and promulgate written regulations setting forth those standards. If the fire chief denies the application for a permit, the fire chief shall cause to be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, a denial notice to the applicant at the address set out in the application and shall maintain a copy thereof. The notice shall state the reasons for the denial and advise the applicant of the right to a hearing as provided by section 11-23 of this Code.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02; Ord. No. 03-1101, § 7, 11-12-03)

Sec. 11-14. Same--Term; renewal.
(a) Each permit issued pursuant to this division shall be valid for a 12-month period from the date of issuance as stated on the permit. If the permit holder relinquishes control of the alarm site before the expiration of the permit period, then the permit terminates on the date of such relinquishment, and any subsequent person in control is required to obtain a new permit before the alarm system can be lawfully operated. If the permit holder fails to deliver written notice of cancellation of the permit to the fire department prior to such relinquishment, the permit holder shall be liable as if he were a person in control of the alarm site, for all subsequent non-permitted response fees, jointly and severally with any other persons liable as provided in this division.
(b) The city shall give at least 30 days notice of the expiration date and need for renewal. A renewal application must be presented to the fire chief along with the renewal fee not less than ten business days before expiration of the permit. If the permit is not renewed as of the expiration date, then a new permit must be obtained. If any fees due under this division remain owed to the city or if there is a history of unreliability of the alarm system, the fire chief shall deny the renewal application until such time as all fees due under this division have been paid and unreliability of the alarm system is shown to have been corrected according to fire department regulation. The renewal permit shall be issued for the 12 month period from the date of renewal. Upon expiration of a permit that is not renewed, the provisions of section 11-12(a) shall apply until a new permit is issued.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-15. Same--Fees.
The fee for a new permit shall be $50.00, and the fee for a renewal permit shall be $25.00.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-16. Same--Nontransferable; re-application required following revocation.
Each permit issued shall be valid only for the alarm site and alarm system permitted, and shall not be transferable to any other person or premises. Upon transfer from the permit holder of ownership or leasehold rights to the alarm site, or upon revocation of the permit, the permit shall terminate, and a new permit must be applied for according to this division. Upon termination of the permit and before a new permit is issued, the provisions of section 11-12(a) shall apply.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-17. Same--To be kept at alarm site.
The permit holder shall keep the alarm permit at the alarm site and shall produce the permit for inspection upon the request of any member of the fire department or other official authorized to enforce the provisions of this division.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-18. Duties.
The permit holder shall:
(1) Ensure that the individuals listed with the fire department under section 11-13(a)(6) of this Code are able to:
a. Receive fire alarm notification at any time;
b. Come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the fire department to do so; and
c. Grant access to the alarm site and if necessary, deactivate the alarm system.
(2) Train all persons who may activate the alarm system in the proper operation of the alarm system.
(3) Pay when due all fees associated with the permit and the operation of the alarm system.
(4) Maintain the alarm site in a manner that ensures proper operation of the alarm system.
(5) Maintain or cause to be maintained the alarm system in a manner that will minimize false fire alarms.
(6) Respond or cause a representative to respond within a reasonable period of time when notified by the city to repair a malfunctioning alarm system, to provide access to the alarm site, or to provide security for the alarm site.
(7) Not manually activate an alarm for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.
(8) Maintain at the alarm site a complete set of written instructions for the alarm system. Special codes, combinations, or passwords must not be included in these instructions.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-19. Fees for city responses to false fire alarm; hearing on false alarm determination.
(a) A permit holder will be charged a fee of $300.00 for each false fire alarm response by the fire department in excess of the following, during each permit period:
(1) Five false fire alarms for a Group A alarm system,
(2) Fifteen false fire alarms for a Group B alarm system, or
(3) Thirty false fire alarms for a Group C alarm system.
(b) If the false alarm(s) occurred during the three month period commencing on the date of the first operation of a newly installed alarm system, the permit holder shall not be charged the fee under subsection (a) of this section, and the false alarms shall not count against the number of false alarms allowable under that subsection.
(c) If the fire department receives notice of any fire alarm from an alarm system that does not have a valid permit, then each person in control of any portion of the alarm site shall be jointly and severally liable to the city for a fee of $300.00 for each false fire alarm response by the fire department. Notwithstanding the general definition of "false fire alarm" as set forth in section 11-11 of this Code, for the limited purposes of this subsection, "false fire alarm" means an incident in which the operation of an alarm system elicits an emergency response by the fire department when a situation requiring such a response by the fire department did not in fact exist; however, the term does not include an otherwise false fire alarm if the fire chief determines that the false alarm was caused primarily by a manual alarm notification to the fire department and the person actuating the alarm was acting under a reasonable belief that smoke or fire existed.
(d) A notice of each false alarm (the "false alarm notice") shall be mailed to the permit holder, or the person in control if there is no valid alarm permit, within 30 days from the date of the false fire alarm response. Fees assessed under this subsection, if applicable, shall be paid within 30 days following the date that the city places the false alarm confirmation notice in the mail, unless a hearing has been timely requested under subsection (e), below.
(e) If the permit holder, or the person in control if there is no valid alarm permit, disputes any part of the false alarm notice, he must mail or deliver a written statement to the fire chief requesting a hearing. The request for hearing must be received by the fire chief not later than the 30th day following the date that the city places the false alarm confirmation notice in the mail. The sole purpose of the hearing is to ascertain whether or not the disputed alarm was false. The request for hearing shall specify facts and have documents and records attached that prove the alarm was not false. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the rules established for that purpose by the fire chief. The proceedings shall be informal. Without limitation of other provisions that the fire chief may establish in his rules, the records generated by the fire department personnel who responded to the alarm shall be admissible as proof of their contents and it shall not be required that the fire department personnel whoresponded be made available to testify at the hearing. The fire chief shall have the discretion at any time prior to the hearing to reverse a false alarm determination if the records clearly establish the response was not in fact a false fire alarm. At the hearing, the burden shall be upon the person requesting the hearing to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the fire alarm was not a false fire alarm. The decision of the hearing officer shall be final and fees assessed, if applicable, shall be paid within 15 days following the date that notice of the decision is mailed to the appellant.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)
Note: Section 11-19 as adopted by Ord. No. 02-257, shall become effective on the 180th day next following the date that this ordinance is passed and approved. All other provisions of this ordinance shall take effect immediately. To allow for orderly implementation of this ordinance, and so any person who requires a permit under this ordinance will have an opportunity to avoid penalties and fees imposed by this ordinance for failure to have a valid permit, the fire chief or his designees shall begin accepting and processing properly submitted applications for permits on the 120th day prior to the effective date of the delayed sections. If application for a permit for an alarm system has been submitted and the required permit fee paid prior to the effective date of the delayed sections, no person shall be subject to enforcement of the delayed sections in connection with the alarm system until after the effective date of the delayed sections and the earlier of the date the fire chief 1) issues a permit for the alarm system, or 2) mails a denial of permit notice to the applicant at the address set out in the application.

Sec. 11-20. Systems performance reviews.
If the fire chief believes that an alarm system is not being used or maintained in a manner that reasonably insures proper operation and prevention of false fire alarms, the fire chief may require a conference with the permit holder and the individual or other entity responsible for maintenance of the alarm system to review circumstances of each alarm.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-21. Violations; penalty; corporations; partnerships and associations.
(a) Whenever in this division an act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful or an offense or misdemeanor, or whenever in this division the doing of any thing or act is required or the failure to do any thing or act is prohibited, the violation of the provision shall be and constitute a misdemeanor punishable, upon conviction, by a fine of not less than $250.00 nor more than $2,000.00. Each violation shall constitute and be punishable as a separate offense. Prosecution or conviction under this provision is cumulative of and shall never be a bar to the imposition or collection of false fire alarm fees or any other civil or administrative remedy provided or allowed in this division.
(b) In addition to prohibiting or requiring certain conduct of individuals, it is the intent of this division to also hold a corporation, partnership, association, limited partnership, limited liability corporation or other such entity criminally responsible for acts or omissions performed by an agent acting in its behalf.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)
Note: Section 11-21 as adopted by Ord. No. 02-257, shall become effective on the 180th day next following the date that this ordinance is passed and approved. All other provisions of this ordinance shall take effect immediately. To allow for orderly implementation of this ordinance, and so any person who requires a permit under this ordinance will have an opportunity to avoid penalties and fees imposed by this ordinance for failure to have a valid permit, the fire chief or his designees shall begin accepting and processing properly submitted applications for permits on the 120th day prior to the effective date of the delayed sections. If application for a permit for an alarm system has been submitted and the required permit fee paid prior to the effective date of the delayed sections, no person shall be subject to enforcement of the delayed sections in connection with the alarm system until after the effective date of the delayed sections and the earlier of the date the fire chief 1) issues a permit for the alarm system, or 2) mails a denial of permit notice to the applicant at the address set out in the application.

Sec. 11-22. Revocation of permit.
The permit for a fire alarm system will be revoked or refused for renewal for any of the following reasons:
(1) The permit holder has failed to make payment in full to the city of any fees due under this division within 30 days of the date the city has mailed a notice to the permit holder that the fees are due and owing or within 15 days following the date of mailing of the decision notice where an appeal has been timely filed; or
(2) The permit holder accrues more than twice the number of false fire alarms for the applicable group referred to in section 11-19(a) of this Code during the permit period; or
(3) Any fact or circumstance exists that would be a basis for denial of an application for issuance or renewal of a permit, or the permit was otherwise obtained or issued in error.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-23. Appeals.
(a) A person may appeal the denial or revocation of a permit by delivering a written request for an appeal to the fire chief not more than 15 days after the first date of mailing written notice of denial or revocation. The notice of denial or revocation shall be sent to the permit holder or applicant by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the permit holder or applicant at the alarm site address, or to such other address specified by them in writing to the fire department.
(b) All hearings shall be held by a hearing officer appointed by the fire chief. The fire chief shall not designate any person to perform the duties of hearing officer under this section who has participated in the investigation of false fire alarms from the alarm site in question, or has prior knowledge of the allegations or circumstances discovered in such investigation. The hearing officer, may, prior to the hearing, receive a copy of the notice given to the permit holder.
(c) An assistant city attorney may be present at the hearing to advise the hearing officer as to procedural matters; however, the attorney shall not participate in any determination of the facts.
(d) All hearings shall be conducted under rules consistent with the informal nature of the proceedings; provided, however, the following rules shall apply to all hearings:
(1) All parties shall have the right to representation by an attorney licensed to practice in Texas though an attorney is not required.
(2) Each party may present witnesses in his own behalf.
(3) Each party has the right to cross examine all witnesses.
(4) Only evidence presented before the hearing officer at the hearing shall be considered in rendering the decision.
(e) The hearing officer may affirm or reverse a permit denial or a permit revocation; however, the exclusive remedy for determining whether a response was a false fire alarm response shall be the review process established in section 11-19(e) of this Code. No proceeding under this section may be used to address or reconsider the determination of whether or not a response was a false fire alarm response.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-24. Policies and procedures.
The fire chief shall institute in accordance with this division policies and procedures necessary to implement and enforce this division.
(Ord. No. 02-527, § 4, 6-19-02)
Secs. 11-25--11-31. Reserved.

ARTICLE III. BURGLAR ALARMS, HOLDUP ALARMS AND OTHER SIMILAR ALARM SYSTEMS*

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*Editor's note: Section 2 of Ord. No. 91-1346, adopted Sep. 18, 1991, amended ch. 11, art. III, §§ 11-32--11-56, to read as herein set out. Prior to adoption of said ordinances, §§ 11-32--11-56 pertained to burglar alarms, holdup alarms, etc., and derived from §§ 10 1/2-20--10 1/2-23 and §§ 10 1/2-25--10 1/2-45 of the 1968 Code; § 1 of Ord. No. 80-2384, adopted July 29, 1980; §§ 1 and 2 of Ord. No. 84-1423, adopted Sep. 12, 1984; and §§ 1--6 of Ord. No. 85-119, adopted Jan. 29, 1985.

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Sec. 11-32. Definitions.
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) Alarm site. The specific property or area of the premises upon or within which an alarm system is or is to be installed.
(2) Alarm system. Any electrical, mechanical, or electronic device or assembly of equipment that emits, transmits, or relays a signal intended to summon, or that would reasonably be expected to summon, or that would reasonably be expected to summon, by direct or indirect means, the aid of the police department of the city. For purposes of this article, the following types of alarm systems are exempted:
a. An alarm system installed on a motor vehicle.
b. An alarm system designed so that no notification is given to the police until after the occupants or an agent of the owner or lessee have inspected the alarm site and determined that there is physical evidence at the site showing that the alarm was the result of criminal activity of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice and does so notify the police, if a person who is able to grant access to the alarm site remains at such site until police arrive whenever the police are notified after an alarm has been activated, and such person renders access and such other assistance as he is able to give and that is needed by the police to properly investigate the situation.
c. An alarm system installed upon premises occupied by the United States government, the state, the city, or any county government situated within the corporate limits of the city.
d. Any alarm system designed solely to detect or give notice of fire or smoke.
(3) Alarm system business. Any person who sells, installs, services, monitors, or responds to alarm systems as a livelihood.
(4) Applicant. The person who seeks to be the permit holder.
(5) Automatic dialing device. Any device connected to an alarm system which automatically sends a pre-recorded message or coded signal indicating the activation of the alarm system to a pre-determined location.
(6) Burglar alarm system. Any alarm system intended to prevent or detect an unauthorized entry or attempt thereof into the alarm site.
(7) Central station. That part of an alarm system business which intercepts signals indicating the activation of an alarm device and which relays this information by live voice to the police department.
(8) Chief of police. The chief of the police department and any employee(s) of the police department assigned by the police chief to perform the duties prescribed by this article.
(9) Disconnect. To render an alarm system disabled so as to prevent any direct or indirect notification to the police department by a silent or local alarm.
(10) False alarm. Any alarm which was not the result of an emergency or threat of emergency of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice and as may be further defined by chapter 218 of the Local Government Code.
(11) Holdup alarm system. Any alarm system which when activated by human action gives notification of a robbery, or attempt thereof, or summons police aid for any other perceived life-threatening reasons.
(12) Local alarm system. Any alarm system emitting audible and/or visual signals in, at, or on the alarm site when activated and which causes notification to be made directly or indirectly to the police department.
(13) Permit. A certificate of authorization issued to the applicant authorizing the operation of the alarm system(s) for which the permit is issued.
(14) Permit holder. The person to whom an alarm system permit is issued.
(15) Telephone answering service. Any business, other than an alarm system business which intercepts signals indicating the activation of an alarm system and which relays this information by live voice to the police department.
(16) Thirty-minute shutoff. An automatic device associated with a local alarm system which automatically causes the alarm to shut off and discontinue the emission of an audible signal after a period of time not to exceed 30 minutes of continuous operation.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-33. Permit--Required; exceptions; number.
(a) No person shall operate, cause to be operated, or allow the operation of an alarm system unless a valid permit has been issued for that system or as otherwise allowed by law; however, this subsection shall not be applicable to an alarm system business which monitors, and/or services an alarm system installed and designed to protect property belonging to a person other than the alarm system business an alarm system. Any person who operates, causes to be operated, or allows the operation of an alarm system without a valid permit shall be subject to misdemeanor prosecution and response fees.
(b) A response, if any, made by the police department upon proper notification, as specified in section 11-48 of this article, by an alarm system business shall be subject to the policies and procedures of the police department governing, but not limited to, the priorities for police responses.
(c) An applicant may apply for a separate permit for each alarm system, or may obtain a single permit for all alarm systems, on so much of one premises to which the person to whom a permit is to be issued has legal rights of ownership or possession; except that separate permits must be obtained to authorize the operation of both burglar and holdup alarm systems on any one premises.
(d) For purposes of the fees set out in section 11-50, an alarm system shall mean and include all alarm systems operated under one permit.
(e) The issuance of a permit authorizing the use of an alarm system is not intended to nor shall it create a contract, either express or implied, creating a duty or guarantee of response. Any and all liability and consequential damages resulting from the failure to respond to a notification is hereby disclaimed and governmental immunity as provided by law is retained.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-34. Same--Application.
(a) Application for a permit authorizing the operation of an alarm system shall be made by a person who: owns, leases, uses, resides at, or manages the property upon which the alarm system is installed. Such application shall be made in writing to the police department on a form designated for that purpose. On such application shall be set forth:
(1) The name, address, telephone number(s), and Texas driver's license (if applicable) of the permit holder.
(2) Copies of the assumed-name registration if the alarm site will be operated under an assumed name; the partnership registration, if any, and the names and addresses of all general partners if the permit holder is to be a partnership; or the corporate charter with the names and addresses of officers and registered agents or the certificate of authorization to do business from the Secretary of State if the permit holder is to be a corporation.
(3) The street address of the property on which the alarm system is to be installed and operated, including the particular suite or apartment number(s) if applicable.
(4) Any business name used for the premises on which the alarm system is to be installed and operated.
(5) Whether the alarm system is a local alarm and whether it is designed to give notice of a burglary, robbery, or any other life-threatening emergency.
(6) The name of the alarm system business that has installed or will install the alarm system.
(7) In addition to the permit holder,
a. the names and local telephone numbers of two persons, or the name and local telephone number of an alarm system business which are able to and have agreed to:
1. Receive notification at any time;
2. Come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the police department to do so; and
3. Grant access to the alarm site and to deactivate the alarm system if such becomes necessary; or
b. the name and local telephone number of an alarm system business which is able and has agreed to receive calls at any time and to give the police department the names of persons listed with that company as set out below if:
1. The permit holder has given the alarm system business the names and local telephone numbers of two persons who are able and have agreed to receive notification at any time; to come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the police department to do so; and to grant access to the alarm site and to deactivate the alarm system if necessary; and
2. The permit holder has authorized the alarm system business to provide the names listed with that business pursuant to above subsection 6(b)(i) to the police department whenever that department has requested that information in order to obtain assistance after an alarm has been activated.
(8) Whether all charges owed to the city by the applicant have been paid.
(9) If an individual residence or apartment, the names of the other residents over the age of 18.
(b) Such application shall be signed by the person making the application for the permit acknowledging he has read the application, affirming the correctness and accuracy of the information given on the application and authorizing the release to the police of information specified in sections 11-46 and 11-48 of this article.
(c) Such application shall state the conditions for revocation of the permit and include by reference the terms of this article, referred to as the "City of Houston Code of Ordinances Chapter 11, Article II," or as it may subsequently be otherwise entitled.
(d) The chief of police shall issue a permit upon submission of an application therefor in accordance with this article and payment of the permit fee, unless the chief of police finds that any statement made in the application was incomplete, misleading, or false; that the applicant has not paid all charges owed to the city; that the alarm system installed at the alarm site has, or is of the type that has, had a history of unreliability; or if the alarm site was previously unpermitted while under the control of the applicant and has outstanding alarm fees owed to the city. The chief of police shall establish reasonable standards determining reliability or unreliability of alarm systems as a police department policy. If the chief of police denies the application for a permit, he shall cause to be mailed a notice to the applicant at the address set out in the application and shall furnish a copy thereof to the alarm detail of the police department. The notice shall state the reasons for the denial and inform the applicant that he may have a hearing on the denial by delivering a written request for a hearing to the alarm detail of the police department within ten city working days of receipt of the denial notice. If the applicant requests a hearing, it shall be held by the chief of police within ten city working days of the date the request is received.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-35. Same--Amendments to application.
Whenever a person listed on the application or listed on an amendment to the application is unable or unwilling to perform the duties set out in section 11-34(a)(7), the permit holder shall file an amendment to the permit application listing a person or company who is able and will perform those duties so that at all times the application on file with the police department designates at least two persons or an alarm system business who are able and willing to perform such duties.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-36. Same--Term; renewal.
(a) Each permit issued pursuant to this article shall be valid for a 12-month period from the date of issuance as stated on the permit. If the permit holder relinquishes control of the alarm site before the expiration of 12 months, then the permit extinguishes on the date of relinquishment.
(b) The city shall give at least 30 days notice of the expiration date and need for renewal. Upon expiration of the twelve-month period, a renewal application must be presented to the chief of police along with the renewal fee to renew the permit within ten city working days; after that time a new permit must be applied for. If any fees or charges remain owed to the city or if there is a history of unreliability, the chief of police shall deny the application until such time all fees or charges have been paid and unreliability is shown to have been corrected according to police department policy. The renewal will relate back to the original date of issuance in determining the twelve-month duration of the permit.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-37. Same--Fees.
The fee for a new permit issued for nonresidential premises shall be $40.00 for each alarm system and for residential premises shall be $15.00 for each alarm system; the fee for a nonresidential renewal permit shall be $40.00 for each alarm system and for a residential renewal permit shall be $15.00 for each alarm system.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91; Ord. No. 02-528, § 12a., 6-19-02)

Sec. 11-38. Same--Nontransferable.
Each permit issued shall be valid only for the premises permitted and is not transferable to another person or other premises. Upon transfer from the permit holder of ownership or leasehold rights to the alarm site, a new permit must be applied for according to this article.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-39. Same--To be kept at alarm site.
The permit holder shall keep the alarm permit at the alarm site and shall produce such permit for inspection upon the request of any member of the police department empowered to make such inspection.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-40. Duties.
(a) The permit holder shall ensure that he or any person listed with the police department under sections 11-34 and 11-35 is able to:
(1) Receive notification at any time;
(2) Come to the alarm site within one hour after receiving a request from a member of the police department to do so; and
(3) Grant access to the alarm site and to deactivate the alarm system if such becomes necessary.
(b) The permit holder shall train all persons who may activate the alarm system in the proper operation of the alarm system.
(c) The permit holder will be responsible for all fees associated with the permit or the operation of the alarm system.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-41. Repair of system; deactivation.
(a) The permit holder shall ensure that the alarm system is repaired within 72 hours of the time notification that such system is malfunctioning or causing potential excessive alarms is given in writing on a form designated by the police department to him or to his employee or his agent by a member of the police department designated by the chief of police to give such notices.
(b) The permit holder may cause such system to be deactivated rather than having such system repaired. If he does, such system shall not be reactivated until it has been repaired.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-42. Duty of person notified by police department to provide access to premises, render assistance.
Any person who is notified by any member of the police department of the activation of an alarm system and who is able to give access to the alarm site shall come to the alarm site within one hour of the time such person is notified of such activation and shall provide the police department any necessary access or assistance.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-43. Operation of alarm system.
(a) No person shall install, cause to be installed or permit to be installed any alarm system unless the following are met:
(1) Any alarm system which may be activated as a result of different types of emergency situations shall give a silent signal, if so equipped, that is unique to designate activation as a result of a holdup, a burglary, a fire, or any other different type of emergency situation so that the proper notification and proper response can be made; otherwise,
(2) Any alarm system designed to emit an audible signal or sound intended to be heard from the exterior of the alarm site shall have a 30-minute shutoff from the time of activation and must not sound similar to that of siren, an emergency vehicle, or a civil defense warning system. For purposes of this subsection any alarm system which emits any variable tone (as opposed to a steady pitch or a ringing sound as is made by a bell) shall be considered to be emitting a sound which is similar to that of a siren, an emergency vehicle, or a civil defense warning system;
(3) No holdup alarm shall include a money clip, pressure pad, or similar device which can cause activation inadvertently; and any holdup alarm shall be designed so that it may be activated only by intentional and deliberate human action;
(4) No person shall use or permit the use of any telephone device or telephone attachment which automatically selects any telephone line leading into the communication center of the police department or any number leading into the offices of the city and then transmits any pre-recorded message or signal;
(5) No person shall use or permit the use of any system which gives notification of the activation of an alarm system directly to the police department by any means other than live human voice; and
(6) The chief of police may set reasonable standards and procedures to be followed by any alarm system business or telephone answering service when giving notice to the police department of activation of an alarm system. Such standards and procedures shall be set out in writing and made available to any person requesting same.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)
Secs. 11-44, 11-45. Reserved.

Sec. 11-46. Duty of alarm system businesses--To furnish information about each alarm installation.
(a) Any alarm system business which installs an alarm system within the city shall provide the police department the following information on a form designated by the city:
(1) The street address where such system is installed;
(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the person contracting for its services;
(3) The type of alarm system; and
(4) The permit number for the alarm site and name of permit holder.
(b) Such form shall be submitted to the police department not earlier than 20 days prior to the date of installation of such system and not later than 48 hours after such system is installed. The police department shall protect such information as confidential information and its use shall be restricted to legitimate law enforcement purposes and to enforcement of this article.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-47. Same--To render efficient service; maintain alarm; keep records of maintenance.
Whenever an alarm system business agrees with any person to maintain or service any alarm system, such business shall:
(a) Ensure that personnel of such business who are able to render effective assistance arrive at such alarm site within one hour of a request by a member of the police department for assistance if such alarm system business has agreed with any person to respond to such alarm system;
(b) Ensure that sufficient personnel of such business are available to provide service and to repair any alarm system such business has agreed to maintain or service within 72 hours after notification that such system is in need of repair is received from the permit holder or as provided for by its contract with the permit holder or by law; and
(c) Keep a written record of the date and time of repair and a description of the specific repair which was performed on any alarm system when such repair was made in response to notification by the permit holder at the office of the alarm systems business.
Such written records shall be maintained for at least two years from the date of repair and shall be available for inspection and duplication by any member of the police department designated by the chief of police to inspect such records when such a member of the police department makes demand at the office of the alarm system business during regular business hours.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-48. Same--Operation of central station or answering service.
Any alarm systems business which operates a central station and any telephone answering service shall:
(a) Responding to alarm. Have sufficient personnel trained in the procedures to be followed in receiving and relaying notice of the activation of any alarm system on duty at all times to ensure that emergency messages or alarm signals received by such business can be relayed immediately to the police department. Notification to the police department of the activation of an alarm system shall include:
(1) The street address of the alarm site, including the particular suite or apartment number, if applicable;
(2) The name of the permit holder and the permit number;
(3) The type of alarm activated; and
(4) The name(s) and local telephone number(s) of the person(s) to notify, if so authorized by the permit holder;
(b) Notification of permit holder. Notify the permit holder or his designees of the activation of the alarm system within 24 hours of the time the alarm was activated, not to include weekends and holidays, by telephone or by placing written notice in the mail, addressed to the permit holder. If there is no permit holder, then notice shall be given to the person contracting with the alarm systems business;
(c) Records. Keep a written record of the date and time each notification of the activation an alarm system is received and the date, time, and method by which the permit holder, his designees, or the person contracting with the alarm systems business were notified. Such records shall be retained for at least two years and shall be made available for inspection by any member of the police department designated by the chief of police to inspect such records when such a member of the police makes request at the office of the alarm system business or telephone answering service during regular business hours;
(d) Periodic testing; correction of defects. Test or cause to be tested all equipment used by the central station or telephones answering service relating to the receipt of notifications of the activation of any alarm system and the equipment used in relaying those notifications to the police department at least one time in every 12-month period and, where a test result is unsatisfactory, correct or cause to be corrected within a reasonable period of time not to exceed seven days from the date of testing the cause of the unsatisfactory test result;
(e) Evidence of test results. Produce evidence of the results of tests conducted pursuant to subsection (d) above upon request of a member of the police department designated by the chief of police to inspect such evidence. The requirements of this subsection shall be satisfied if such results are made available at the central station or telephone answering service on the next regular business day after request is made; and
(f) Providing service to licensed businesses only. Not provide answering service for any alarm system business which is not licensed by the State of Texas. A violation under this subsection shall only be enforceable according to state law and the remedies, policies and procedures provided for therein.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-49. False activation prohibited; exceptions.
No person shall activate an alarm system for any purpose other than an emergency or threat of emergency of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice; provided, however, it shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alarm system was activated solely for the purpose of testing the alarm system and the person who tested the alarm system took reasonable precautions to avoid any request being made to the police department to respond to such alarm. This section shall not apply to conduct which is in violation of section 42.06 of the Texas Penal Code, as presently enacted and as may be subsequently amended.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-50. Fees for city response to alarm.
A city response, if any, upon proper notification as prescribed in section 11-48(a) of the activation of an alarm system shall not incur a response fee except:
(a) The permit holder will be charged the full costs incurred by the city when he, his agent or his employee activated an alarm system other than a burglar alarm system for any reason other than an emergency or threat of an emergency of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice of, except for testing the alarm system under section 11-49 of this article. Such activation shall be chargeable only after a previous activation has occurred during the term of the permit. The city council finds that the minimum costs incurred by the city in responding to this type of activation of an alarm system is $160.00. Notwithstanding any tabulation of costs, a minimum charge of $160.00 shall be charged the permit holder whenever he, his agent or his employee activates an alarm system, other than a burglar alarm system, for any reason other than an emergency or threat of an emergency of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice and the city responded to such activation of the alarm system. Such $160.00 charge shall be a minimum charge only, and shall not be applicable when a tabulation of costs including overhead, the cost of investigation, and all costs incident to the response to a particular alarm system shows that the cost was greater than $160.00.
(b) Unless full costs are chargeable under subsection (a), the fee of $50.00 shall be charged the permit holder for each response by the city to notification of activation of a burglar alarm system in excess of five alarms from the permit holder's alarm system during the term of the permit that a responding police officer has determined to be false. However, no fee will be charged for a response to notification of the activation of a burglar alarm system if the permit holder shows that the activation was not a false alarm, and any response by the city to notification of an alarm system will not be included in determining fees if the permit holder shows that such activation was not a false alarm. A false alarm, for purposes of this article, shall mean the activation of any alarm system which was not the result of an emergency of the kind for which the alarm system was designed to give notice and as may be further defined by chapter 218 of the Local Government Code, as presently enacted and as may be subsequently amended. For purposes of determining the fees set out above, the burden shall shift to the permit holder to prove that the activation of the alarm system was not a false alarm once a responding police officer has determined the activation to be false. For the purposes of fee computations under this subsection (b), the "term of the permit" is the section 11-36 term of the permit.
(c) Any person who operates, causes to be operated, or allows to be operated an alarm system without a valid permit shall be charged a fee of $50.00 for each response by the city to each notification of activation of a burglar alarm system and a fee of at least $160.00 as prescribed in subsection (a) for each response to any other type of alarm system upon the unpermitted alarm site.
(d) The chief of police may waive the imposition of false alarm response fees if he determines that the persons charged were within a geographical area to which a qualified emergency existed which caused the activation of the alarm system at the alarm site. The chief of police shall establish and promulgate rules and procedures governing the determination of a qualified emergency and establish a list of qualified emergencies.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-51. Compliance with state law.
All persons subject to the provisions of the Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies Act of the State of Texas, article 4413 (29bb), Texas Civil Statutes, Annotated, are required to comply with all provisions of that act, as presently enacted and as may be subsequently amended.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-52. Violations; penalties.
(a) Any person who violates any provision of this article not otherwise provided for and punishable under article 4413 (29bb), Texas Revised Civil Statutes, as enacted and amended, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00.
(b) All persons have the affirmative duty to comply with all provisions of this article, and it shall not be a defense to prosecution of such persons that they were acting without a culpable mental state.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91; Ord. No. 92-1521, § 1, 11-18-92)

Sec. 11-53. Revocation of permit--Disciplinary reasons.
The permit for an alarm system will be revoked for the following disciplinary reasons:
(a) The permit holder has failed to make payment in full to the city of any fees assessed under section 11-50 of this Code within 60 days of the date the city has mailed a notice to the permit holder that the fees are due and owing; or
(b) The permit holder accrues more than eight false alarms during the term of the permit, not including those false alarms which formed the basis for a prior revocation during that same period. After the first reinstatement, revocation shall occur if the permit holder accrues more than three false alarms from the date of reinstatement.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-54. Same--Notice of revocation.
(a) Upon revocation of the permit for an alarm system, written notice shall be given to the permit holder or his agent by postal mail addressed to the permit holder at the address set out in the application for the permit or its most recent amendment. Such notice shall set forth:
(1) The amount of any fees assessed under section 11-50 of this article that are due and owing, and the dates on which the charges were incurred, if the revocation is based in whole or in part upon item (a) of section 11-53 of this article; and
(2) The specific dates of false alarms from such alarm system, if the revocation is based in whole or in part upon item (b) of section 11-53 of this article.
(3) That a reinstatement hearing will be held before the chief of police to determine whether the permit for such alarm system should be reinstated if such request is in writing and is received by the alarm detail of the police department within ten city working days of the date of issuance of the notice of revocation;
(4) That the permit holder may appear at the hearing in person and be represented by legal counsel, may present testimony and may cross examine all witnesses;
(5) That any appeal of the hearing must be in accordance with rule 12, section 2-2 of the Code of Ordinances.
(b) All hearings shall be held by the chief of police or his designated representative. Such official shall be referred to as the hearing officer. The chief of police shall not designate any person or persons to perform the duties of hearing officer under this section who has participated in the investigation of false alarms from the alarm site in question, or has prior knowledge of the allegations or circumstances discovered in such investigation. Such person designated as hearing officer, may, prior to the hearing, receive a copy of the notice given to the permit holder.
(c) An assistant city attorney from the legal department may be present at such hearing to advise the hearing officer as to procedural matters; however, such attorney shall not participate in any determination of the facts.
(d) All hearings shall be conducted under rules consistent with the informal nature of the proceedings; provided, however, the following rules shall apply to such hearings:
(1) All parties shall have the right to representation by an attorney licensed to practice in Texas though an attorney is not required.
(2) Each party may present witnesses in his own behalf.
(3) Each party has the right to cross examine all witnesses.
(4) Only evidence presented before the hearing officer at such hearing shall be considered in rendering the order.
(5) The hearing officer may adjust the amount of fees owed upon a showing of good cause by the permit holder.
(6) The permit holder shall have the burden to comply with rule 12, section 2-2 of the Code of Ordinances if an appeal of the hearing officer's findings and decision is desired.
(e) If the permit holder fails to appear at the hearing at the time, place and date specified, the city shall present sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case showing that grounds existed for revocation of the permit.
(f) If the hearing officer finds that no grounds exist for reinstatement of the permit for the alarm system, he shall refuse to reinstate such permit and shall give written notice to the permit holder of such finding. Upon receipt of such notice, the permit holder shall disconnect such alarm system immediately and shall surrender his permit to the police department.
(g) If the hearing officer finds that grounds for reinstatement of the alarm permit do exist, he shall give written notice of such finding to the permit holder.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-55. Same--Reinstatement.
(a) A permit can be reinstated if the revoked permit holder has failed to request a hearing within the time specified in section 11-54(a) by filing an application for reinstatement, pays the application fee which is the same as that for a new permit application, and shows:
(1) That the cause of the chargeable false alarms in section 11-53 has been corrected; and
(2) The fees assessed under section 11-50 of this article have been paid.
(b) If a permit holder has had a permit revoked twice during the term of that patient, that person must wait a period of one year from the date of the second revocation or, if one has been requested, the date of the denial issued pursuant to a reinstatement hearing before applying for a new permit for that alarm site.
(c) If a reinstated permit is denied pursuant to this section, a hearing may be requested if received in writing within ten working days of the date of notice of denial and as otherwise set forth in section 11-54.
(d) A reinstated permit shall retain its original issuance date for the purposes of commencement of the "twelve-month period" in section 11-50 of this article and shall not have any more charge-free false alarm responses available in addition to those already used during that period. Following the reinstatement, responses made prior to the date of revocation but not part of the basis for the revocation shall be included in computations under subsection (b) of section 11-50, as applicable; however, responses from the date of revocation through the date of reinstatement shall be chargeable under subsection (c) of section 11-50; such charges must be paid before reinstatement becomes effective. Reinstatement of the permit shall be the only means of restoration of the lawful use of the alarm system hereunder after the permit has been revoked; provided, however, that a new permit must be applied for and issued before operation of the alarm system if the ownership or possessory rights to the alarm site have changed since the most recent application or amendment thereof.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)

Sec. 11-56. Policies and procedures.
The chief of police shall institute in accordance with this article policies and procedures necessary to implement and enforce this article.
(Ord. No. 91-1346, § 2, 9-18-91)


Commentary

In The City of Houston, you cannot operate a burglar or fire alarm without purchasing a city permit. (Note that in unincorporated Harris County, you must obtain a similar permit from the county, but at no charge) If an apartment owner or manager allows the operation of an alarm system without a valid permit, the owner and manager will be in violation of the ordinance.

Sec. 11-33 (c) provides that an applicant may apply for a separate permit for each system, or may obtain a single permit for all alarm systems. Note, however that a "burglar alarm" and a "holdup alarm"(sometimes called a "panic button") are separate alarms that require separate $10 permits, even if they are in the same apartment unit.

In light of the prohibition against the owner or manager allowing the alarm system to be operated without a permit, it's a good idea to develop some procedure that requires residents to obtain permits before their alarm can be activated if individual unit permits are used.

The permit is good for 12 months, and is not transferable – meaning that a new resident must obtain a new permit even if the previous resident's 12 months are not used up.

False alarms are a real headache for the police department, and penalties are priced appropriately. False alarm charges are the responsibility of the "permit holder," which makes an argument for requiring residents to obtain separate permits.

For more information, contact the Houston Police Alarm Detail at
(713) 308-1400. Outside the city limits, contact the Harris County Sheriff's Alarm Detail at (713) 755-4600.