With the Fourth of July in the city’s rearview, Washington Police officials say the department will be getting more serious about fireworks enforcement in the city limits.
In Washington, per ordinance, the discharge of fireworks is not permitted within the city limits of Washington at any time. On the Fourth of July, the city encourages citizens to watch the public fireworks show at the fairgrounds each year.
However, Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said, that ordinance doesn’t typically stop individuals from setting off fireworks on, leading up to and after Independence Day. Since late June, the department has posted reports of officers responding to fireworks violations.
Sitzes said this week the department has been responding to and getting reports of illegal fireworks activity.
The department typically doesn’t issue citations for fireworks use on the Fourth unless the people are repeat offenders or have been warned in the past, Sitzes said. He added that officers mostly respond to complaints and don’t often “chase” fireworks.
“We try to respond to them the best we can, but they are complaint driven responses,” Sitzes said. “If we see a boom in the sky we’re not heading to that location. We deal with the ones that people complain about.”
Sitzes said when police do respond and officers see the fireworks being set off, warnings are only given.
While during the holiday officers can be lenient, he added, now the department will get more serious about enforcement. He said officers will be giving less warnings and more citations.
“We strongly encourage people to refrain from shooting them off in the city limits with houses close by,” Sitzes said.