With the passage of a new law this year, your privacy will now be better protected when registering your security alarm system with local law enforcement.
House Bill 797 would exempt from the definition of “public record” any registration or sensitive security information received or compiled by a city that has an alarm registration ordinance in place. State laws govern what is considered a public record and they make all documents of a public entity, like a city, a public record — unless it is specifically excluded.
Some cities in the state have adopted alarm registration ordinances that require property owners who install a security, burglar, fire, or similar alarm system to get a permit for the system and register personal and other information with the police department. These ordinances establish a false alarm fee schedule for businesses and homeowners to discourage false alarms. These cities are putting a premium on public safety resources and want to ensure that police are only dispatched to genuine emergencies.
A false alarm is any activation of a burglar alarm system that prompts a response from the police department when there was no current situation requiring police response. False alarms include any accidental, avoidable and/or unnecessary activation that was caused by error or equipment malfunction. This does not include activation due to violent weather conditions.
Personal information that would be exempted from the definition of a public record includes registration information (e.g. the name, home and business telephone number, and any other personal identifying information provided by an applicant pursuant to an alarm registration ordinance) and any sensitive security information pertaining to an applicant’s alarm system (including residential or office blueprints, alarm system schematics, and similar drawings or diagrams).
House Bill 797 received unanimous bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature and was signed into law by Governor McCrory on August 5, 2015.