A local law of the County of Ulster, Local Law No. 13 of 2015, known as the "False Alarm Reduction Act" was enacted in 2015. This law requires that every structure within Ulster County which has an "Alarm System" have a permit issued by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. The requirements of this local law do not apply to any Ulster County municipality that has enacted local false alarm reduction legislation. The law also sets forth penalties for excessive responses to false alarms by police agencies, fire departments, and emergency medical service.
The legislature enacted this law in furtherance of enhancing the public health, safety, and general welfare. The legislature found that false alarms drain the resources of police agencies, fire departments, and emergency medical services. Each false alarm amounts to a waste of taxpayer money without any public safety benefit and otherwise imperils the rest of the public who may need assistance.
OBTAINING A PERMIT FOR A STRUCTURE: The owner or tenant (whomever controls the alarm system) of a structure with an alarm system must apply for an alarm system permit issued the Sheriff’s Office by completing a permit application. The instructions for completing and mailing the permit application are on the application. There is a onetime registration fee of $10.00 for each structure registered.
Upon receiving and reviewing and approving the permit application a permit will be mailed to the applicant. The permit does not have to be displayed on the structure.
WHAT IS A STRUCTURE: For the purposes of this law a structure is defined as a physical improvement to real property.
ALARM SYSTEM DEFINED: For the purposes of this law an Alarm System is defined as a device which emits or transmits a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition and intended to summon Law Enforcement and/or fire protection and/or medical emergency service. Personal or Vehicle alarm devices are not included in this law.
Penalties for false alarms – The owner of the real property upon which a false alarm was emitted shall be liable for a civil penalty in the following amount in any calendar year:
- $0 for the first and second false alarms;
- $50 for the third false alarm;
- $200 for the fourth and each and every subsequent false alarm.
- Alarm systems without a permit – Upon the first false alarm, a warning will be issued to the homeowner and the homeowner will have 14 days to obtain a permit. If a permit is not obtained the owner of the real property upon which the alarm system is situated shall have a penalty of $100.00 imposed for a second false alarm and a penalty of $200.00 for a third and each and every subsequent alarm.
- Unpaid Penalties – The County will commence a civil action to collect any unpaid fines and/or add the amount of the fine to the real property owner’s Tax Bill.
- Appeal Process – The penalties imposed may be appealed by writing to or appearing in person at the Sheriff’s Office within thirty days of receiving a penalty notice. See contact information below.
EXCEMPT MUNICIPALITIES: The following communities have enacted false alarm reduction laws and are therefore exempt from the County law:
- City of Kingston
- Towns of: Esopus, Marlboro, New Paltz, Saugerties, Shandaken, Ulster, Wawarsing, Woodstock
- Villages of: Ellenville, New Paltz, Saugerties
Mail: Ulster County Sheriff’s Office
Kingston, NY 12401
Attn: False Alarm Law Clerk
Email: sheriff[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us - Subject: False Alarm Law