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H.393

Introduced by Committee on Government Operations

Date:

Subject:  Public safety; department; commissioner; fees; alarms

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to clarify the role of the Vermont state police in responding to alarms; establish registration fees for alarm holders, alarm companies, and alarm monitoring companies; and establish fees for responding to false alarms.

AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY REGISTRATION FEES FOR ALARMS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. § 1871 is amended to read:

§ 1871.  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; COMMISSIONER

(a)  The department of public safety, created by section 212 of Title 3, shall include a commissioner of public safety, the Vermont emergency management board created under section 4 of this title, and the boxing control board created under section 101 of Title 31.

(b)  The head of the department of public safety created in section 212 of Title 3 shall be a commissioner of public safety, who shall be a citizen of the United States and shall be selected on the basis of training, experience and qualifications.  He The commissioner shall be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, for a term of six years.

(c)(b)  The commissioner of public safety may contract for security and related traffic control, and receive reimbursement for reasonable costs which shall include costs associated with providing personnel, benefits, equipment, vehicles, insurances, and related expenses.  These reimbursements shall be credited to a special fund established pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, and be available to offset costs of providing those services.

(d)  The commissioner of public safety shall collect fees for the termination of alarms at state police facilities and for response to false alarms.

(e)  Termination Fees:

(1)  The termination fee for a single dedicated circuit alarm at a state police facility will be $250.00 per user per year.

(2)  An alarm company or monitoring service that is authorized to install a multi-unit alarm panel at a state police facility will be assessed a fee of $25.00 per alarm with a minimum fee of $250.00 per panel per year.

(3)  An individual or business who programs a tape dialer or other automatic notification device to transmit a voice message to a state police facility, informing the police of a burglary or other emergency, must register such dialer with the state police facility and will be assessed a registration fee of $50.00 per year.  The fee includes an onsite inspection by a member of the state police.

(4)  If state police respond to an alarm and it is found that the alarm was transmitted by an unregistered tape dialer or similar notification device, a registration fee of $50.00 will be assessed subsequent to that response.  Unpaid registration fees are considered to be alarms in default and handled in accordance with the provisions of the section on response terminations.

(f)  False Alarms:

(1)  A false alarm is notification given to the state police by electronic or telephonic means that an emergency situation exists, when an emergency or other circumstance that could be perceived as an emergency does not exist and to which the state police have responded.

(2)  Alarm periods shall be based on the calendar year, January 1 through December 31.

(3)  The first false alarm in an alarm period shall be at no cost.  The second false alarm in the alarm period shall be assessed at $50.00 and each successive false alarm in the same alarm period shall be assessed at $75.00.

(g)  Response Terminations:

(1)  Alarm fees which have been assessed and not paid for a period of 60 days from the date of the last billing are considered alarms in default and the state police station commander, with the concurrence of the state police troop commander, may notify the alarm holder that the state police will no longer respond to alarms at that location as long as the alarm holder is in default.

(2)  When in the opinion of the station commander, with the concurrence with the troop commander, there exists a chronic false alarm problem which the alarm holder appears not to have taken reasonable measures to correct, the station commander may send notification that the state police will no longer respond to alarms at that location until the problem is corrected even if the alarm holder is not in default on fees assessed.

(h)  Appeal:  An alarm holder may appeal a decision of the station commander to the troop commander.

(i)(c)  The commissioner of public safety may enter into contractual arrangements to perform dispatching functions for state, municipal, or other emergency services, establishing charges sufficient to recover the costs of dispatching.  Dispatch positions which are fully funded under such contracts may be authorized under the provisions of 32 V.S.A. § 5(b).

(j)  Charges collected under subsections (e), (f) and (i) of this section shall be credited to the Vermont law telecommunications special fund and shall be available to the department to offset the costs of providing the services.

Sec. 2.  20 V.S.A. § 1883 is added to read:

§ 1883.  ALARMS; FEES

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Alarm” means electronic detection signaling equipment or systems designed, when activated or triggered, to notify a person or entity of an event at a location.

(2)  “Alarm company” means any organization in the business of selling, providing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, or installing alarms.  

(3)  “Alarm holder” means any person or business that has an alarm installed at a location in Vermont that is owned by that person or business, who expects the Vermont state police to be the primary responder when the alarm is triggered or activated, and who contracts with a  registered alarm monitoring company. 

(4)  “Alarm monitoring company” means an organization that is in the business of supervising alarms, by receiving notification that an alarm is triggered or activated, and assuming some responsibility for notification to a law enforcement agency.

(5)  “Alarm period” shall be based on the calendar year, January 1 through December 31, for two consecutive years.

(6)  “False alarm” means notification given to the state police by an alarm monitoring company, alarm holder, or alarm holder’s agent that an alarm has been activated or triggered or notification, based upon an alarm that has been activated or triggered, that an emergency situation exists or may exist, when an emergency or other circumstance that could be perceived as an emergency does not exist, and to which the state police has responded.

(b)  The commissioner of public safety shall collect fees for the registration of alarm holders, alarm companies, and alarm monitoring companies and for responses to false alarms.  Alarm holders, alarm companies, and alarm monitoring companies shall register with the Vermont state police and pay the required initial registration fee.  If an alarm holder transfers a registration to a new alarm holder, the new alarm holder shall pay the required initial registration fee.  Alarm companies and alarm monitoring companies shall renew their registration annually and pay the required annual registration fee.  An alarm monitoring company shall provide the Vermont state police’s registration form to all customers who are alarm holders.  The Vermont state police is authorized not to respond to alarms if the alarm holder is not registered.

(c)  The following registration fees shall apply:

(1)  to alarm holders for initial registration                         $75.00;

(2)  to alarm companies and alarm monitoring companies for:

(A)  Initial registration                                               $100.00;

(B)  Annual registration                                               $75.00.

(d)  In the event of a false alarm, the Vermont state police may bill the alarm holder.  The first false alarm in an alarm period shall be at no cost.  The second false alarm in the same alarm period shall be assessed at $75.00; the third false alarm in the same alarm period shall be assessed at $125.00; and each successive false alarm in the same alarm period shall be assessed at $150.00.

(e)  Termination of service:

(1)  An alarm holder who has been assessed a fee established under this section and who has not paid that fee for a period of 60 days from the date of the last billing shall be considered in default, and the state police station commander may send notification, which shall be by first class mail, to the alarm holder at the mailing address set forth in the registration form on file with the Vermont state police that the state police may no longer respond to alarms at the alarm holder’s registered location as long as the alarm holder is in default.

(2)  When in the opinion of the station commander there exists a chronic alarm problem that the alarm holder appears not to have taken reasonable measures to correct, the station commander may send notification, which shall be by first class mail, to the alarm holder at the mailing address set forth in the registration form on file with the Vermont state police, that the state police may no longer respond to alarms at that location until the problem is corrected, even if the alarm holder is not in default on fees assessed.

(3)  In the event that the station commander notifies the alarm holder as set forth in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, the state police is authorized not to respond to alarms at that location.

(4)  An alarm holder may appeal a decision of the station commander to terminate service to the troop commander.

(f)  Charges collected under subsections (c) and (d) of this section and subsection 1871(c) of this title shall be credited to the Vermont law telecommunications special fund and shall be available to the department to offset the costs of providing the services.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us