Getting tough on Fireworks- IOWA
I can't count the times we've been to fireworks related fires. Iowa is taking action...for safety's sake.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Unmarked Sioux City police cars are
monitoring Iowa-tagged cars shopping for fireworks in South Dakota,
with marked vehicles stopping the Iowans once they enter the state
and confiscating fireworks.
Police then ticket the drivers and dump the fireworks in barrels
"People have to think about that when possessing or illegally
using fireworks within the city limits," Sgt. Mark Skaff of the
department's Community Action Support Team said. "They may
actually find it's cheaper to go out and enjoy the legal and
permitted fireworks displays that are put on every summer around
Skaff said consumer fireworks are illegal in Iowa, but many are
sold to Iowa residents at numerous fireworks stands in North Sioux
It is legal for Iowa residents to purchase fireworks and use
them in South Dakota, but people can get into trouble if they light
them in Iowa or possess them within the Sioux City limits.
A man from Monona County was out more than $200 worth of
just-purchased fireworks after being stopped in the sting. He
wasn't happy about the police derailing his fireworks display
Officer Brian Clausen confiscated his fireworks, gave him a
warning and informed him of the city ordinance that also applies to
people coming from South Dakota and through Sioux City into other
areas of Iowa.
The man's haul of fireworks ended up in a large barrel of water
at the Sioux City Police Department. He was allowed to keep some
lighting punks, snaps and other novelty items.
Iowa law makes it illegal to light or launch any fireworks other
than novelty fireworks such as sparklers, caps and snakes. The new
Sioux City ordinance makes it a violation to possess consumer
Being able to ticket a person for possession of fireworks allows
police to better enforce a zero-tolerance policy adopted after a
fireworks barrage caused a dangerous situation at Chris Larsen Park
a few years ago.
It also allows officers to write citations without actually
seeing someone light fireworks.
"There will be other undercover officers throughout the city
looking for people lighting fireworks," Clausen said.
Fines start at $100 and penalties could include up to 30 days in
jail. A citation requires a mandatory court appearance for people
caught lighting or possessing fireworks in Sioux City.
Skaff said police receive numerous complaints during the weeks
surrounding the July 4 holiday.
"Zero tolerance was adopted primarily because fireworks are one
of the things we get a lot of complaints about," Skaff said.
"People call us about neighbors lighting off fireworks. It
disturbs them. Also we get calls every year about the bottle rocket
that went up on the neighbor's roof and smolders and presents a
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)