Alarm Control Compliance Office
The Alarm Control Compliance Office oversees and performs administrative, technical, and operational activities relevant of the county ordinance that regulates security alarms county wide. The office investigates and coordinates all activities required to ensure security alarm users within the unincorporated limits of Polk County comply with the county alarm ordinance. The office also analyzes law enforcement daily activities, reviews each alarm call to determine and calculate appropriate fines, issues written citations of violations, prepares and mails warning letters, creates and maintains a computer database, and testifies in court and at depositions.
The implementation of the Alarm Control Ordinance in Polk County, has proven to be substantially busy for the created position of Alarm Control Ordinance Compliance Officer. The ordinance was approved for implementation October 1, 1997, however, a grace period was given to the citizens of Polk County, with the actual implementation date of April 1, 1998.
Alarm Control Ordinance
All residents and businesses within unincorporated Polk County are subject to this ordinance. According to the ordinance, alarm users who allow more than two false alarms within a year (consecutive 365-day period) will be subject to fines. The “alarm user” is the person, business or other entity who owns, leases or occupies the premises in which the alarm system is installed. The amount of the fine will be determined by the number of false alarms a user has had within the last year (364 days) prior to the most recent false alarm. Also according to the ordinance, a Burglar Alarm System must be equipped with: a back-up supply in the event of a power failure; and a device that automatically silences the alarm within 15 minutes after activation.
A false alarm occurs when the alarm system is activated and the Sheriff's Office responds, but there is no evidence of criminal activity (or the reasonable threat of criminal activity), unauthorized entry or any other emergency that would require the services of the Sheriff's Office. This includes signals activated by accident, negligence, mechanical failure, electrical failure, signals activated intentionally in non- emergency situations and signals for which the actual cause of activation is unknown. An alarm is considered false if responding Sheriff's Office personnel follow normal operating procedures and find no evidence of an unauthorized entry, criminal activity (or reasonable threat of), or other emergency. Each false alarm is a separate violation of the ordinance and shall be fined as follows (includes an $8 fee by Clerk of Courts):
- First False Alarm in 365 days - No Charge
- Second False Alarm in 365 days - No Charge
- Third False Alarm in 365 days - $108.00 fine
- Fourth False Alarm in 365 days - $158.00 fine
- Fifth False Alarm in 365 days - $208.00 fine
- Sixth False Alarm in 365 days - $308.00 fine
- Seventh False Alarm in 365 days - $408.00 fine
- Eighth False Alarm and over in 365 days - $508.00 fine
|Automatic Alarm Communication Systems Prohibited|
The ordinance prohibits the use of Automatic Alarm Communication Systems, described as any automatic communication device or automatic telephone dialing alarm system that once activated automatically transmits a recorded message or coded signal to a Fire Services or Sheriff's Office telephone line. Failure to disconnect an Automatic Alarm Communication System (within 72 hours of notice to do so) is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable as provided in Chapter 775, Florida Statutes.
|Alarm Owners' Responsibilities|
It is the responsibility of the alarm owner to monitor false alarms on his/her premises. In the event of an alarm, the Sheriff’s Office will request that the alarm user or keyholder (person authorized to enter premises to allow Sheriff’s Office to investigate alarm) respond to the scene. Failure to respond to the scene will result in the alarm user being fined $50. Failure of an alarm user or keyholder to respond to the scene within 45 minutes of notification (without good cause) also shall result in a $50 fine.
Owners of an alarm can voluntarily register their alarm at no cost online at http://crywolf.polksheriff.org
|What Can I do to Prevent False Alarms?|
- Make sure everyone in your home or business knows how to manually operate the alarm system and what to do if the alarm is accidentally set off.
- Before you turn on your alarm, make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked.
- Test your alarm system at least once a month to make sure it is working properly. Call your alarm company for immediate service if you think your system is not working properly.
- When testing your alarm, don’t forget to notify the alarm monitoring company.
- Keep pets out of rooms with motion sensors. Also make sure these rooms are free of anything else that could activate the system.
|For More Information Contact:|
Polk County Sheriff’s Office
Alarm Control Compliance Office
1891 Jim Keene Blvd.
Winter Haven, FL 33880