Alarm Permits

Residential alarm

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


(We maintain permits for residents of Gaston and Hillsboro because these cities contract with the Sheriff's Office for alarm permit administration services.)


The annual permit fee for operating an alarm system is $20. In 2012, the Sheriff's Office had approximately 13,892 valid 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.  


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 all who have access to the alarm system know how to use it properly. 


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.


Alarm permit records provide vital information to the deputies who respond to the alarms. If you live in the City of Gaston or Hillsboro or in unincorporated Washington County and you wish to apply, please complete an Alarm Permit Application and the required Protective Sweep Form. You may submit it to us either by mail or in person with a check or money order payable to the Washington County Sheriff's Office for your first year's fee of $20. The mailing address is provided on the application form.


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.