Alarm Permits

Residential alarm

The Washington County Sheriff's Office issues and maintains permits for alarm systems for residential and commercial properties that are located in unincorporated Washington County, or in the cities of Cornelius, Gaston and Hillsboro.  This includes all robbery or burglary alarm systems, both monitored and unmonitored.


The annual permit fee for operating an alarm system is $20.  The Sheriff's Office has almost 14,000 valid alarm permits on file.


Because approximately 98% of all alarm calls are false alarms, your Sheriff's Office has been actively working with citizens to reduce them.  This frees more deputies to respond to actual emergency calls for service.   


The Washington County alarm ordinance is designed to discourage false alarms and to allow deputies to spend more time providing public safety services.  One part of this program is the assessment of fines and penalties for false alarm calls according to a progressive schedule.  If you believe you have been fined in error, there is an appeal process for you to follow.

You can help to reduce the chances of a false alarm.  Please be sure that your alarm system is maintained on a regular basis, is in good working order, and that anybody that has access to the alarm system knows how to use it properly.  Please see the False Alarm Prevention Tips section for further information on how to reduce false alarms.

To check your property address to see which jurisdiction serves you, visit Who Patrols My Neighborhood. Once you find your property address, if you live in the jurisdiction of the Washington County Alarm Ordinance, the last paragraph will tell you so.  If that alarm ordinance language is not there, then you are not in the jurisdiction of the county's alarm ordinance.

If you live in Unincorporated Washington County or in the cities of Cornelius, Gaston or Hillsboro and you wish to apply, you can apply in one of two ways:

  • Fill out the Alarm Permit Registration Form print it, and submit it either by mail or in person along with a check or money order payable to Washington County Sheriff's Office for your first year's fee of $20.  The mailing address is provided on the application form.  -or-

  • Online Payments. You can register online using our secure website which will also allow you to pay the $20 alarm permit fee by either credit card or e-check.

If you have questions about business or residential alarms, please call the Alarm Permit Unit at (503) 846-2519.  Hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Or, you can e-mail the Alarm Unit