The Fourth of July holiday this past weekend kept Riverbank Police Services (RPS) very busy with illegal firework violations occurring throughout the city. The City of Riverbank implemented for the first time this year a new ordinance with an aggressive approach to stop the use of illegal fireworks. The new ordinance had stiff fines starting at $1,000 for the first offense along with more officers patrolling the streets and city staff that manned a hotline for people to report illegal fireworks.
According to RPS Chief Erin Kiely, there were approximately 15 Riverbank Municipal Code fireworks cases made concerning these violations. The cases will be forwarded to the city for review. Citations will be issued after review. No arrests were made as the citations are administrative. Many residents assisted in this effort by calling in numerous violations to the City of Riverbank fireworks hotline as well as by calling non-emergency police dispatch.
Although the results and effectiveness of the new ordinance and its related enforcement efforts can’t be fully determined until next year’s Fourth of July holiday period, a Riverbank deputy who worked the holiday in 2018 (with July 4th on a Wednesday) said there were noticeably fewer illegal fireworks being discharged on the 5th and 6th of 2019, suggesting that this year’s enforcement efforts may have actually had some effect.
With the 5th and 6th significantly slower, the enforcement units kept busy assisting patrol in between fireworks calls and cases, said Kiely.
One such unit was driving through the Crossroads area when flagged down about a suspicious vehicle. The deputy located the vehicle in the Crossroads Shopping Center just as a man identified as Leonard Elphick, 30, was running up to it. He was detained along with three others. Upon further investigation it was determined Elphick had just committed a strong-arm robbery at Famous Footwear where he stole two pairs of shoes and battered two employees in the process. He was booked at Stanislaus County Jail for robbery, two counts of battery, and a probation violation. His three associates were all booked for outstanding arrest warrants.