As July 4 draws nearer, Longmont officials are asking residents to forego illegal fireworks.
“We, as well as the community, wish residents would be considerate of each other, animals, people who work early hours, veterans, etc. and the fact that (fireworks) are illegal, but this has not happened,” Longmont Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur stated in an email.
All fireworks that leave the ground and explode are illegal in Longmont, and fines and penalties for the use of illegal fireworks are up to $500 and 90 days in jail and/or both.
Legal fireworks — which include those that emit a "shower of sparks" at a maximum height of 14 feet, but do not shoot "balls of flame" — can be used on private property. All fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal on city streets and golf courses and in parks and other public areas.
Fireworks that emit smoke, crackle or whistle also are allowed, but not those that make an explosive noise.
Residents with concerns about illegal fireworks use are asked to talk to their neighbors and their homeowners associations to make their neighborhoods “voluntary fireworks-free zones.” They are asked not to call 911 to report fireworks violations.
Longmont police and fire respond to ‘priority’ calls first, Satur stated Priority calls include those where an immediate threat to life exists, where there is an immediate and substantial risk of major property loss or damage and/or those that require immediate response.
“Fireworks calls are somewhat of a challenge as they are annoying and disruptive but they do not come under the category of a ‘priority’ call,” Satur stated.
Fireworks complaints also can be difficult to enforce, according to Satur, because often they do not include exact locations and there oftentimes are delays in responding to them.
To report complaints about fireworks, residents are asked to call the Longmont Emergency Communications Center at 303-651-8501.
Callers can choose to remain anonymous or be identified in the course of the complaint.
Police are not yet sure if canceling this year’s Skyline Kiwanis fireworks display will impact the number of complaints.
The police department is planning additional staffing July 4 and 5 in hopes of deterring illegal fireworks use.
Last year during a seven-hour period on July 4, there were 183 fireworks calls in Longmont, according to Satur.
“With 340 miles of roadway, usually non-specific addresses, no willing witness(es), the volume of fireworks complaints make it difficult to enforce. We need help from our residents and neighborhoods to not use fireworks,” he stated.
“We are hoping neighbors understand and support taking a voluntary stance against fireworks use. The gap that exists between the law, the enforcement of the law (which will continue) and people, pets and veterans being able to live in the quiet enjoyment of their home or neighborhood is perhaps better filled by those people in neighborhoods where this is an issue.”