One central Iowa city plans to clamp down on the use of illegal fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. The Urbandale police department announced it will adopt a “zero tolerance” policy in handling fireworks complaints. Sergeant Dan Stein says the department took another look at the way it handles the situation after last year’s holiday.
Stein says the department received a number of citizen’s complaints last year about fireworks. Stein didn’t have an exact number of complaint calls the department received last year, but said none of them involved major problems.
Stein says the fireworks for the most part have been a nuisance issue, though they did have a couple of small fires — one was to a picnic bench. “We want to be sure that all of our citizens are safe, and that they enjoy the holiday,” Stein says.
The Des Moines suburb has an annual parade, carnival and other events to celebrate the holiday. Stein says they have extra officers on hand for those events, but won’t be adding any extra to chase down fireworks calls. They’ll instead use the officers on hand at the time.
Stein says they will address the complaints as they come in, and he says they are spread out enough that they don’t anticipate the entire police force being busy with the calls. Those who’re caught violating the fireworks ordinance in Urbandale will face a citation and day in court.
“We are going to cite adults for the illegal fireworks under our city ordinance, and that is a simple misdemeanor and a non-scheduled violation, so they’ll actually have to make a court appearance, and it’s up to the court to determine if a fine will be instituted,” Stein says.
Stein recommends those who don’t want to face a visit from police, go and watch the fireworks display in Urbandale put on every year by licensed professionals.