For several weeks city management and Chief Tim Mattos were speaking on obeying fireworks rules. Their priorities were in keeping the community safe from illegal fireworks and the mishaps that follow.
All fireworks used were to be state approved with all Rohnert Park officers on patrol and enforcing a $1,000 fine for illegal fireworks.
Illegal fireworks are anything that explodes, launches or goes high up into the air. It was discovered the hard way that if you were in possession of illegal fireworks on your property, you would be fined $1,000 and were only to be used within city limits from July 2 to July 4.
The Department of Public Safety also now have a new tool, an app, called “Nail ‘em” that helps to report and aid in the city’s zero tolerance.
Chief Mattos, during the July 9 city council meeting gave out some startling statistics. A total of 300 service calls were answered from July 4 starting at 7 a.m. to July 5, ending at 7 p.m. One hundred thirty-three calls were fireworks related; 12 calls were for medical services. There were 11 dumpster fires with one being a structure fire. Someone dumped hot fireworks into a plastic container that eventually started the structure fire.
The eye-opening statement Chief Mattos revealed was there were 59 administrated citations, each one costing a resident $1,000. Comparing to 2018, when there were only four citations given and none were cited in 2017. Handing out the citations should make a big impact for 2020.
Councilwoman Pam Stafford said she significantly noticed there was less noise this year than in prior years.
Councilwoman Susan Adams asked the chief if there was a section of town that was patrolled more than any other part of the city. He answered by designating the Gold Ridge School area and many residents felt they had the opportunity as a last stand to light fireworks with all of the new rules being implemented.
One resident said, “I only left my husband in the driveway for a moment and then I come out to discover he had received a citation.” (Note: don’t leave husband alone in driveway) They immediately drove to a permitted fireworks booth and purchased legal fireworks.
Chief Mattos emphasized that the word will be spread, and the safety department will get a better blueprint to move forward since all of the officers were very interested to get all hands-on deck and keep the city safe. The chief said, “The $1,000 citation was not to get attention or receive the extra revenue, it was safety for the community and trying to change the public’s behavior.”
An attendee of the meeting said the council did the right decision to change the rules. One said he had trepidations, but it is now proven it did help the safety of the city.
On checking fireworks booths, some said they had an increase in sales and others said it remained the same as last year. Only time will tell for the 2020 Fourth of July.