Increased police patrols to enforce illegal fireworks ban in Hawaii

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The police departments from different counties will have more officers on the road and they will be working extended hours to enforce the law banning illegal aerial fireworks.

Illegal aerial fireworks are less of an issue during the Fourth of July compared to New Year’s Eve, although Maui Police Department Sgt. James Terry said they are increasing patrols.

“Right now, we’re on 12 hour shifts, so we have 12 hours in each shift, you know, it’s saturated,” Sgt. Terry said. “What saturation means, extra officers that weren’t normally scheduled to work, we will bring in those extra officers to assist us in the enforcement of the illegal fireworks.”

Police encourage residents to report illegal fireworks to the Maui Police Department’s non-emergency line. Terry said do not approach them, record video if possible because the calls will remain anonymous.

“If we give you a citation, it could be a $1000, up to a Class B felony,” Terry said. “If it’s a misdemeanor amount, you’re going to get a citation, if it’s a felony amount you’re going to be arrested.”

The charge becomes a felony if the person is caught with at least 25 pounds of illegal fireworks.

On the Big Island, Fire Chief Kazuo Todd said residents should take the right precautions to protect their surroundings, even if people are playing with legally purchased fireworks.

“They should have a water source, whether that be buckets of water that they could put fireworks in or a water hose that’s connected and ready to go,” Todd said. “Also, basically if you have brush or dry things around your house, cut them back or wet them down.” 

As the Fourth of July Holiday approaches, Oahu’s North Shore Neighborhood Board chair Kathleen Pahinui said she has gotten only one report of aerial fireworks so far. But neighbors are preparing for a possibly loud weekend.

Pahinui said, “I have friends with dogs and they are already preparing getting tranquilizers, planning to stay home with their pets, just to be on the safe side because they don’t know.” 

The use of fireworks will only be allowed on Independence Day from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. statewide.

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