Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Citrus Heights police deploying extra officers to target illegal fireworks

Sentinel staff report–
In an effort to combat the use of illegal fireworks this year, Citrus Heights police on Thursday announced plans to deploy additional officers on the streets, each paired with a Sacramento Metro Fire Arson Investigator.

“The Citrus Heights Police Department wants everyone to enjoy the 4th of July holiday; however, we will have ‘Zero Tolerance’ for the use or possession of illegal fireworks,” police said in a news release on Thursday. “If we contact anyone who is in possession of illegal fireworks or see someone using illegal fireworks, we will take the necessary enforcement actions to ensure the safety of our community.”

As of Thursday, the department said complaints of illegal fireworks use had already been received, with officers “currently working to identify the culprits.”

According to the city’s municipal code, fireworks that are not classified as “Safe and Sane” are illegal in the Citrus Heights, and are not lawful to possess, sell, use, display or discharge. However, the code allows for Safe and Sane fireworks to be sold and discharged each year, beginning at noon on June 28 and continuing through July 5 at 10 p.m.

“A good rule of thumb when you’re considering what fireworks are legal or illegal is if they go in the air, they dart across the ground, or they explode — they’re gonna be illegal fireworks,” Citrus Heights Police Commander Gina Anderson told the city council during a June 28 council meeting, where she explained steps police are taking to combat illegal fireworks this year.

Police also said residents are encouraged to report illegal fireworks use by calling the department’s non-emergency number at (916) 727-5500 — unless there is an imminent danger to life or property, in which case police said calling 9-1-1 is appropriate.

“Reports of illegal fireworks use where the exact location is known will be given a higher priority than reports where the exact location is not known,” the department said in Thursday’s statement. “If you know the exact location of where the illegal fireworks are being used, and you wish to make a citizen’s arrest, an officer will be dispatched as soon as one is available. If you do not want to be contacted by a police officer, our communications center will handle the call by advising all patrol units of the complaint. Any available patrol unit near the location will patrol the area.”

Last year, police reported there were 188 calls for service related specifically to fireworks, which resulted in the confiscation of 70 pounds of illegal fireworks. However, of the 188 calls, police said about a third could not be located, another third resulted in officers checking the location but finding no issues.

“The enforcement of this becomes a real challenge because when we get complaints of fireworks in progress, more often than not, by the time we arrive, they’ve already been expended,” Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence previously told the city council. “And then if those are still in progress, there’s typically 20 or 30 people standing around watching so we have to prove who actually did the ignition.”

Seizure is authorized by the city’s municipal code, which allows for authorities to seize “all fireworks offered or exposed for sale, stored or held in violation of this article when such violation creates and imminent threat to public health or safety.”

What happens to confiscated fireworks?
Confiscated fireworks in California are packaged and shipped out of state where they are “destroyed safely,” according to a State Fire Marshal spokesman who was interviewed by CBS 13 in 2017.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)