Fort Smith Police Response To Illegal Fireworks In The City

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Fireworks may be the primary form of entertainment for people on July 4th, but the explosives can also put a strain on local law enforcement.

5NEWS requested data from the Fort Smith Police Department about how many fireworks calls they responded to, along with how many citations they issued.

A law was adopted by the City of Fort Smith in 1979 that prohibits the sale and use of fireworks including sparklers.

According to Corporal Anthony Rice, the department got 131 fireworks-related calls, with 66 of them coming in between the hours of 2p.m. and 10 p.m. Rice said this quantity of calls is on par with what they usually get on the Fourth of July.

Rice said they wrote only one citation because of fireworks.

However, Rice said there is a reason behind the small quantity of citations given out. It has to do with the fact that officers have to see the misdemeanor committed in their presence before they can take action.

In some cases, officers can use their discretion when issuing a citation. For instance, Rice explained if an officer is called to the same address multiple times, then it may warrant some type of punishment.

Also, officers have to take into consideration the seriousness of a call because some calls take precedence over a call related to fireworks.

“The manpower is getting better here, but unfortunately, during that time period, there’s no possible way to get directly to a fireworks call immediately,” explained Rice.

The department have eight officers during a regular shift, but it’s their responsibility to respond to each call, so eventually an officer will arrive and react appropriately.