Police enforcing firework law with citations
In Illinois, setting off fireworks without a proper license is against the law.
Yet it is very common. So how does local police enforce this law?
Rochester Police Chief Kent Bragg said it depends on the area where you live, but says that for the most part it will begin with the police getting a call about illegal fireworks.
Bragg says the police will then check out the situation.
If they catch you with illegal fireworks, they might ask you to stop or they will confiscate them.
He said if it is the second time he finds someone who has already been told to stop using fireworks, they might write a citation.
Some law enforcement officers said they don’t want to ruin the holiday, but they also need to enforce the laws.
"We're not trying to ruin anybody's fun, but it’s all about safety," Bragg said.
Fireworks are a very important part of the 4th of July celebrations.
"I enjoyed them, my kids enjoyed them and it was kind of nice to have them," Rochester resident Joshua Becker said.
If you’re buying large fireworks and setting them off in your backyard, you could be breaking the law.
"Any of the rockets and things like that, you can’t have those. And, if we come upon someone that has those, we will confiscate those,” Bragg said.
On the 4th of July, Jacksonville police wrote three citations for illegal fireworks.
Sangamon County Sheriff's Department received 10 calls regarding the use of illegal fireworks but wrote zero citations.
Rochester police said they got two calls but also wrote zero citations.
Overall, Bragg said the amount of calls has decreased.
He said 20 years ago, the police would have been flooded with calls this time of year.
"It seems like our call volume has shrunk considerably when it comes to fireworks," Bragg said.
Becker said this can happen because people are accepting of the illegal fireworks.
"People are used to having fireworks going off,” Becker said. “They are more accepting of it. It’s just a part of the 4th of July. "
Some said illegal fireworks are also bothersome because they can be confused for other dangers.
"It could be gunshots, so when they get a call, they have to be proactive but they also have very limited resources to get to you,” Decatur resident Kathleen Beube said.
Chief Bragg said that many times, a call for fireworks will come in as 'shots fired,' so it makes it very difficult for them.
"Yeah, it kind of heightens the intensity a little bit," Bragg said.
So if you have plans to continue your firework celebration, remembered some are against the law and could lead to injures or citations.