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Zero Tolerance Policy For Illegal Fireworks
fireworks booth
Riverbank city officials are again announcing their zero-tolerance policy on illegal fireworks around town this summer. So-called Safe and Sane, state certified legal fireworks will soon be available for sale by local non-profit organizations, like this one from last year, staffed by RHS Bruins Boosters members. Ric McGinnis/The News

For the past few weeks there have been a plethora of calls to Riverbank Police Services regarding fireworks in the area. The City of Riverbank discussed the illegal fireworks at a city council meeting earlier this month.

Citations have been already given out as the fourth of July is still over a week away. Booths for “safe and sane” fireworks have been popping up throughout the city but there have been people setting these off as well.

Councilmembers Cindy Fosi and Cal Campbell participated in a subcommittee along with city staff to modify the Riverbank Municipal Code regarding fireworks in general in 2018. The changes made then will continue with a $1000 fine for the first offense for use and possession of illegal fireworks. Last year there was a fireworks hotline created and with the combined effort of city staff and sheriff’s deputies they were able to enforce the ordinance during the July 4 holiday.

The changes that were discussed for 2020 are the use of zone type of strategy with someone monitoring certain areas especially in the areas that are receiving the most complaints. The hotline may be manned by the explorers this Fourth of July as last year they received a multitude of calls. The details are still in the works for a possibility of using the RPS drone team to have an aerial view to determine exactly where the fireworks originate from.

For compliance and safety in the community, authorities have asked that if neighbors see something to say something. If someone has witnessed the use of illegal fireworks and is able to identify the person and address that would be extremely helpful for law enforcement to take action.

“We knew going into this this was going to be a multiyear effort,” stated City Manager Sean Scully during the update. “We did not expect that we were going to see a lot of compliance in year two or three. What we have heard from other communities is that the longer your programs are in place and the more consistent they are eventually you start to see improvements along those lines and that is our goal.”

All members of the city council were pleased to hear the update and the possibility of the new procedures for the upcoming holiday. Scully advised that they will be reporting back with the final changes. With the hot temperatures and high winds the fire danger is real as the city enforces its zero tolerance policy for illegal fireworks and will issue citations.

The city is also publishing a warning, ‘You Light It, We Write It,’ on social media, including the non-emergency numbers for Police Services, at 552-2472 or 558-4357, that can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week.