Few citations amid hundreds of fireworks calls

Over the Fourth of July holiday, hundreds of calls came in to Treasure Valley law enforcement related to illegal fireworks, but few citations were issued. (File photo)

Over the Fourth of July weekend, from July First through July Fifth, dispatchers at the Ada County Sheriff's Office received around 392 calls pertaining to illegal fireworks, but no citations were issued. That's causing some people to wonder if there's no enforcement of the law, why even bother having a law?

Between Nampa police and the Canyon County Sheriff's Office over the Fourth, more than 100 calls related to illegal fire works came in, but again, no citations.

A Boise police spokesman didn't have an exact number of fire-works related calls, but said few citations were issued.

Rep. Mat Erpelding, a Boise Democrat, unsuccessfully tried to pass a tougher fireworks law in the legislature last session.

We asked if he thought law enforcement should be issuing citations.

"If law enforcement finds the person who lit off the aerial fire work and they can prove they lit off the firework, then they do issue citations. The problem with all of this is it is so hard to actually catch a person after they've lit off an aerial firework."

The Ada County Sheriff's Office says it doesn't have the resources to respond to every call about illegal fire works and must prioritize calls for overall public safety.

Erpelding says he gets that.

"We'd have to have so many police on the ground we'd become a police state and I don't think anybody wants that," he said.

After the damage caused by illegal fire works with the Table Rock fire last year and this year with the Boise apartment fire, Erpelding says lawmakers must make it clearer that the public cannot buy illegal aerial fireworks at the retail level without a permit.

Now, the public can skirt the law by signing a mysterious waiver that's not even part of the Idaho Fireworks Act to begin with.

It seems every year there's more confusion and concern about illegal fire works in our state, leaving it up to the legislature to clear things up before the next Fourth Of July.

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