As the new Director of Public Safety for the City of Rohnert Park, I heard several stories about the use of illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July. As a result, the Public Safety Department took some new approaches to combat the use of illegal fireworks and the dangers they pose to our residents.
The first step was to enhance municipal code violations to address the use of illegal fireworks on private property, making it easier to hold people accountable. The department also increased the community’s ability to report sales, possession, or use of illegal fireworks through the “Nail ’em” app. We’re proud to report that our Public Safety Officers in the field received 89 submissions through the app. The app was a success and we look forward to continued use of the “Nail ’em” app to report illegal fireworks.
The Public Safety Department launched a proactive education campaign to alert the public to dangers and penalties associated with the use of Illegal fireworks, the new restrictions surrounding the use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks, and how to stay safe on the Fourth of July. Information was available on the Rohnert Park Television Channel, the Highway 101 Digital sign and the Community Voice articles. Several videos were created to help further relay our messaging on Facebook, YouTube, Nextdoor and Instagram. Information regarding fireworks safety and penalties were displayed at all non-profit fireworks booth within the city.
Although the information regarding the dangers and penalties associated with illegal fireworks was provided throughout the community in several different platforms, several residents chose to break the law by igniting their illegally obtained, illegally possessed fireworks. As a result, there were several different aerial displays of illegal fireworks throughout the city.
Due to a new enforcement strategy for 2019, Public Safety Officers issued fifty-nine administrative citations for igniting illegal fireworks during the evening of July 4. Each citation carries with it a $1,000 fine. The large fine is intended to be a deterrent.
The Public Safety Department will continue to take a very proactive enforcement approach to illegal fireworks and will adhere to a Zero-Tolerance stance for those who feel the need to use dangerous fireworks.
We’re thankful for the community support in keeping Rohnert Park safe, and ask that you continue to report the use, sales, or possession of illegal fireworks. You can report these violation by downloading the “Nail’em” app or by calling (707) 584-2611.