At Thursday's (July 5) morning police briefing, Sioux Falls Police spokesperson Sam Clemens said that the department had "Quite a few less" fireworks reports and citation this year. Clemens said that the rainy weather was a factor in the reduction of reports. Also the SFPD's increased enforcement and public information efforts.

The Sioux Falls Police Department received 323 reports of fireworks being used in Sioux Falls city limits from July 3 through 5. That's down from 414 in 2017. The police issued 25 warning to people in town. There were no citations issued.

The use of fireworks within Sioux Falls city limits is illegal. Sioux Falls Ordinance prohibits the use of fireworks within the city limits with the exception of sparklers, snakes, and other fireworks that do not have an audible report, projectile, or launching component. If a police officer observes fireworks being discharged, he or she can issue a citation, which carries a $95 fine. - City of Sioux Falls

This year the department has several offices tasked specifically with fireworks enforcement. But that duty come with some challenges.

"I always try to equate this with traffic laws...there's not much the officer can do unless the officer see that person run a stoplight," Clemens said.

He added that fireworks are easy to hear and see, and officers are responding to calls as fast as they can. But officers can only issue a ticket if they see someone lighting the firework. Often the people that spur the calls are done with their display by the time officers arrive.

"You may see people in their driveways with a whole bunch of fireworks, but they're not shooting them off at the time. So in those cases the officers are going to stop and talk to them, and explain what the laws are in Sioux Falls."

Clemens says that in the years to come the department will continue to remind the public that fireworks are not allowed in Sioux Falls.


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