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Frequently Asked Questions

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Am I (the home/business owner) required to register my alarm system?

No. You are no longer required to obtain an alarm permit or pay associated fees for your alarm system. Alarm companies shall maintain current contact information for all alarm users in the County, to include the names, emergency telephone numbers and addresses for all alarm users; the names and emergency telephone numbers for at least two alternate responders with the ability to access the alarm system for each monitored alarm system that may be contacted in the event of an emergency to deactivate the alarm system. KCC 6.10.050(B).

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When a false alarm occurs, who is fined?

When a false alarm is registered, the alarm company or the individual monitoring the alarm who reported a false alarm will receive notification and a fine per each false alarm. These fees can be passed on from the alarm company to its customers. Please understand your contractual agreements, including policies and practices with respect to the billing of any additional fees and fines.

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Will the Sheriff's Office respond if my alarm goes off?

When a false alarm is registered, the alarm company or the individual monitoring the alarm who reported a false alarm will receive notification and a fine per each false alarm. These fees can be passed on from the alarm company to its customers. Please understand your contractual agreements, including policies and practices with respect to the billing of any additional fees and fines.

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What does "verified" mean?

"Verified" means:

  • confirmation at the alarm site by the alarm user or self-monitored real-time visual or audio equipment;
  • (multi-zone activation at the alarm site;
  • confirmation by a private responder or other secondary confirmation at the alarm site; or
  • real-time audio and/or visual evidence at the alarm site provided by an alarm company, provided that such audio or visual evidence is made available to Kitsap 911 no more than 24 hours after the dispatch of public safety. KCC 6.10.020

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What are the requirements of the home/business owner (alarm user)?

  1. Maintain the alarm site and the system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms.
  2. Ensure that an alarm system is not manually activated by the alarm user or any other person for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.
  3. Instruct all authorized alarm users to properly activate or deactivate the alarm system in the appropriate method of operation, provide them with the password (including the proper spelling), and the phone number for the alarm monitoring company.
  4. Instruct all authorized alarm users of the provisions of this chapter, emphasizing the importance of avoiding false alarms. It is presumed that proper instruction has not been provided if there are more than two false alarms in any six month period per alarm site.
  5. Provide reasonable notice to Kitsap 911 prior to the activation of an alarm for maintenance, repair, testing, or instructional purposes.
  6. Maintain on file with the alarm monitoring company the alarm users current contact information, to include: the names and telephone numbers of the primary alarm users; the address of the alarm activation site; the cause of the alarm; the names and telephone numbers for the designated responders; date and time of the alarm activation; weather conditions; and any other information necessary for alarm verification.
  7. Respond or cause a representative to respond to an alarm site within 30 minutes upon notification of the need to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm system, to provide right of entry to the premises, or to provide alternative security for the premises.

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What happens if a location has excessive false alarms?

Assessments for false alarms can be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal within 30 calendar days after the date of notification of the assessment. You can email that appeal to kcsorecords@co.kitsap.wa.us or mail to: (KCSO Records, 614 Division St MS 37, Port Orchard, WA 98366) . Be sure to include the factual basis for the appeal, and any supporting document.

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What do you do if you believe the false alarm notice is incorrect?

Assessments for false alarms can be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal within ten days after the date of notification of the assessment. You can email that appeal to kcsorecords@co.kitsap.wa.us or mail to:  (KCSO Records, 614 Division St MS 37, Port Orchard, WA 98366) . Be sure to include the alarm company's name and permit number, a contact person and email address; alarm location and permit number, date of the false alarm, reasons for the appeal, and any supporting evidence.

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I've heard that the County's ordinance places an undue burden on my alarm company, causing my rates to increase. Is this true?

The agreement for monitored alarm services is between the alarm company and its customers. The private company owns the relationship with its customer, including the issuance of equipment, training and ensuring that it is a successful system. It is not up to the county or its public safety personnel to tell alarm companies how to do their business; that is a private industry call. However, the previous system in which the alarm customer was held directly responsible for all false alarms did not work. More than 98 percent of alarm calls are false alarms, with that statistic consistent within the county – as well as nationally – for decades. Responding to false alarms is a financial cost to the public and a threat to public safety by the unnecessary diversion of public safety resources.

The County's main intent with the change is to hold alarm companies more accountable for false alarms and reduce the number of unnecessary law enforcement responses.

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Will burglary rates increase because of the non-response provision?

With more than 98 percent of all monitored alarm calls false alarms, there is no correlation between alarms and actual burglaries. The intent of the ordinance is to reduce the incidence of false alarms freeing up law enforcement to spend more time on patrolling areas and other crime prevention activities – rather than responding to false alarms. Also, burglar alarms are designed to protect property, not people. Manually activated alarms such as panic/duress alarms are intended to protect people and are given high priority.

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I pay taxes and want my tax dollars used to have officers respond to my alarm.

The alarms public safety personnel respond to are almost always false. Owning and operating an alarm is a private contract with a private, for-profit firm for a private service. County personnel are not paid to be security guards for alarm companies or alarm owners and this, unfortunately, is what has occurred over the past several decades.

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Will the implementation of this alarm verification delay public safety response?

No. Currently, calls from alarm companies are placed as a low priority response due to the consistent false alarm rate (98.8% false). Under the new verified alarm process, calls will be prioritized higher as there will be evidence of a possible crime.

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What if I am present and I press the panic button, enter duress code, have a fire alarm or dial 911?

There is NO verification requirement for a fire, medical, or panic alarm.

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If criminals know public safety are not responding without verification, will it attract more criminals to our area?

No. Studies show that the mere presence of an alarm system (usually indicated by signage or stickers) is an effective deterrent. Also, the criminal does not know if someone has heard the alarm and called police, or if a private guard responder service is utilized. Typically, burglars stay inside the home/business for 2-5 minutes then flee.

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What can I do to help reduce false alarms?

Major causes of false alarms:

  • Unlocked or loose doors/ windows
  • Children, Neighbors, and Visitors
  • Cleaning Crews/ Repairmen/ Pet Sitters
  • Pets or other wildlife
  • User Error
  • Equipment Malfunction


Before you activate your alarm system:

  • Are you and others who use the security system fully educated on its proper operation? This may include domestic/cleaning crews, children, neighbors, caretakers, employees and temporary staff.
  • Make sure you securely close and lock all protected doors and windows.
  • If you are leaving your home or business, make sure the door you leave by is closed tight.
  • Keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, etc. away from motion sensor areas.
  • Know and rehearse the process to cancel an accidental alarm. Anyone with your key should know this process.
  • Know how much time you have to leave after your system is armed and to disarm your system when you enter.


Know what to do if you set your alarm off accidentally:

  • First, do not panic. Carefully enter your disarm code to reset your system.
  • Wait for your Alarm Company to call, give your password or ID card number.
  • Do not leave your home or business until you have talked with your monitoring company! If they do not call you, have the number posted by your control panel and contact them to cancel the police dispatch.
  • You can arrange to have your alarm monitoring company call you or another designated person first before the police are called whenever your alarm is activated.
  • If you are aware of a problem with your alarm system, you can cancel the police dispatch.


At home:

Avoid objects that trigger your alarm:

  • Unlocked, loose-fitting, or open doors or windows. Always keep doors and windows locked when the alarm is in an "ON" mode to reduce the chance that friends, neighbors or customers enter and cause the alarm to activate.
  • Unsupervised pets - If you have pets, take special care to purchase an alarm system that is tolerant of pets. You may not want to purchase motion detectors if your pets have free run of the house when the alarm is on. Also, sometimes barking dogs can activate glass break detectors.
  • Balloons that move can cause motion sensors to go off.
  • Drafts that move plants and curtains.


At your business:

Watch for these pitfalls that may activate your alarm:

  • Swinging doors or windows
  • Banners or signs
  • Mylar balloons
  • Plants or curtains caught in drafts
  • Stacked items, such as boxes, which may fall, setting off motion detectors
  • Unsupervised guests
  • Untrained, unaware or uncaring employees
  • Alarm equipment, such as motion sensors or overhead door magnets, being hit by forklifts


With people:

Enhance your alarm system’s potential:

  • Ensure that anyone authorized to use your alarm system is properly trained in its usage.
  • Use deadbolt locks.


Contact your alarm company:

  • If you plan any improvement or renovation projects, such as changing phone systems, reconfiguring a room, adding a wall, rearranging cubicles, installing skylights or ceiling fans, or even fumigating.
  • If you plan to change your alarm system batteries. This can cause an interruption in your system’s power supply which may trigger an alarm activation.
  • Alert your alarm company if you hire domestic help or acquire a pet.


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Who is assessed the false alarm penalty?

The penalty fee will be assessed to the company or individual monitoring the alarm, so a company acting on your behalf as the alarm owner or you.

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When Will We Begin Assessing Fines?

We will begin assessing fines on June 1st, 2021.

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What are the penalties?

The administrative penalties for a violation of any provision of this chapter are as follows:

  • First violation - $150
  • Second or any subsequent violations during any 12-month continuous period - not less than $150 and not more than $500.


All penalties shall be made payable to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and deposited in the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office crime prevention fund.

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