Police say there’ll be increased enforcement of Sioux City firework ordinance

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Sioux City Police say they’re increasing enforcement of the city’s fireworks ordinance, and anyone who violates it, is subject to a criminal offense.

The city’s ordinance, passed in 2018, limits firework discharge to just two days around the 4th of July and the New Year’s holiday. When it comes to the Fourth of July holiday, fireworks can only to be discharged on July 3 and 4, from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. A violation can result in a maximum fine of $300.

This is the fourth year the ordinance will be in effect. But after complaints about illegal fireworks discharges, police are cracking down.

“So typically, or in the last couple of years, I don’t think there’s been too many citations issued. However, you know, we’re going to be pressured into a situation where we’re going to have to issue more citations and be more aggressive in our enforcement if people are not respectful of the law,” said Sgt. Jeremy McClure with SCPD.

Sgt. McClure says officers aren’t mandated to give someone a citation for illegally discharging fireworks, and officers still have discretion regarding whether the offense is warranted.

The council has not ruled out amending the ordinance to ban fireworks altogether if citizens don’t follow the rules.

Mark Solheim also wants to ban fireworks in Sioux City. He says the damage to those who suffer from PTSD far outweighs the benefits.

“The horrors that our veterans have seen in serving our country, our saw so horrific, that they cannot speak about it. And every time an ordinance of fireworks goes off, it causes them to relive those painful memories,” said Solheim.

Council Member Dan Moore believes the council is generally supportive of the current ordinance but warns a total ban isn’t off the table.

City Council Member Dan Moore says the city's current ordinance is a compromise, but further...
City Council Member Dan Moore says the city's current ordinance is a compromise, but further restrictions, including a full ban, aren't off the table.(KTIV)

Some have called for an all-out ban on fireworks in Sioux City. But would such a ban work considering you can drive across stateliness and still access fireworks? That’s the reality city officials acknowledge.

“And the way I look at it is we didn’t get here overnight. It was because it was tolerated for years and years. And you’re right you could just go across the state line by all the fireworks you want bring him back and fire him off. Is that illegal? Yes, is that irresponsible? Yes, it’s all that. But it happens,” said Moore.

Police have pledged to step up enforcement of the current ordinance, but they acknowledge staffing and other calls could get in the way.

From June 1 to July 5 last year, 14 citations and one infraction were issued, but a police brochure says the department received more than 600 calls about fireworks last year.

Adjacent cities have their own firework ordinances that are less restrictive than the ordinance in Sioux City.

In North Sioux City, South Dakota fireworks can be discharged in the summer from June 27 to July 10, much longer than in Sioux City.

North Sioux City does have an ordinance preventing “reckless discharge,” and also prevents fireworks from being discharged on public property. The penalty for violating the ordinance is a maximum fine of $500.

In South Sioux City Nebraska, fireworks can be discharged longer throughout the day than in Sioux City.

Discharge in the summer is allowed between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 2nd through the 4th. In South Sioux City, the mayor has the power to change the ordinance if conditions warrant further restriction.

South Sioux City doesn’t appear to have an ordinance prohibiting discharge on public property.

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