Extra fireworks patrols planned for hot spots
South Sound law enforcement agencies are bracing for the explosions around town that always accompany the Fourth of July.
Since sales started statewide Thursday for “safe and sane” fireworks, officers are planning extra patrols and reminding citizens about regulations. Laws vary by city and county on when and if fireworks can be set off.
Last year, 24 fires and 27 injuries were reported in Pierce County from fireworks-related incidents, according to the state Fire Marshal’s Office. Tacoma police issued 66 citations in 2011, an increase over previous years.
Among enforcement efforts planned in the coming days:
• Starting Saturday, up to eight Tacoma police officers will be patrolling city streets, focusing solely on complaints about booms and blasts. All fireworks are banned in Tacoma.
• In Lakewood, two to three extra police officers will conduct special patrols in search of fireworks violations starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
• Uniformed and plain-clothes officers in Federal Way will be on the lookout for fireworks between now and Wednesday’s holiday. They will patrol various events, including the city-sponsored show at Celebration Park.
All fireworks are banned in Federal Way.
• The Washington State Patrol’s explosives-detecting dogs will be sniffing out legal and illegal fireworks on vehicles boarding the state’s ferries. Those carrying illegal fireworks face prosecution. Passengers are encouraged to leave their legal fireworks in an easily accessible place for the State Patrol to find.
Fireworks violators face different fines in different areas, but the explosives can be confiscated. In Tacoma, anyone caught with fireworks faces a $257 fine.
The biggest enforcement in Tacoma will come on the night of the Fourth, when eight officers will be assigned to fireworks patrol. They will also team up with Puyallup tribal officers to keep an eye on Portland Avenue Park, where myriad fireworks complaints have come in the past.
To report fireworks infractions in Tacoma, call 253-798-4722. Police ask that 911 only be used for emergencies and that those calling the hot line with a fireworks complaint stay on the line until dispatchers can take the call.