While Independence Day celebrations have come and gone, the Walla Walla Police Department is weighing in on the city’s fireworks ordinance and the public campaign initiated before July Fourth on discouraging the public from lighting illegal fireworks.
Police Chief Scott Bieber said his department ended up with about the same amount of calls as in previous years.
“Between July 3 and July 6, we had 88 fireworks calls that we headed to,” Bieber said. “Probably 45 to 50 of those were warnings and officers handled.”
Bieber said an issue Walla Walla has is the city’s ordinance is more restrictive than the state law and not restrictive enough to eliminate fireworks altogether.
“So when you have surrounding jurisdictions, like the county and College Place, who have adopted the state regulations and sell fireworks based on the state regulations. People purchase those fireworks.,” Bieber said.
He said that despite the fact that the city of Walla Walla had a pretty good public relations and public information campaign this year to let people know certain fireworks were not allowed inside the city things did not seem to slow down.
“Most of what we did was we were able to educate and warn people that what they may be shooting off is not legal in the city of Walla Walla,” Bieber said.
He added that the city attorney will be reviewing some of the calls and whether any citations will be issued is yet to be determined. Aerial fireworks that go over 20 feet high are against the law within the city limits.