Enforcing Fireworks Laws

SFPD assigned four officers to combat illegal booms

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Law enforcement is cracking down on fireworks Tuesday night.

After receiving close to 300 fireworks-related calls on the Fourth of July last year, officers are focusing on holding people accountable.

“We’ll have to search the area, look around to see if we can spot anyone lighting off fireworks,” says Officer Mark Toland.

When it comes to fireworks, Sioux Falls Police are taking a new approach.

“We have the city divided into quadrants,” explains Cpt. Loren McManus.

One officer has been assigned to four different quadrants, with the task of solely focusing on fireworks-related calls. Officer Toland is taking on the west quadrant.

“West of Minnesota, North of Russel to the end of town,” says Officer Toland. “Then west of Kiwanis to the end of town.”

Before, any available officer would take fireworks calls. But the responses weren’t timely.

“The officers are busy taking other higher priority calls and a lot of times frankly, by the time they get to a call, the activity is done and nobody is around,” says Cpt. McManus. “So it makes it difficult to enforce sometimes.”

Now, when a fireworks related call comes in, Officer Toland can respond right away.

“I just have to notify dispatch that I’m going to a certain call or to send me to a certain call,” he says.

It’s the loud fireworks like artillery shells that people are calling in the most.

“Of course people are trying to sleep; parents are just trying to get their kids down,” says Officer Toland. “It’s just the noise that I think a lot of people call in for.”

Toland says he doesn’t want to ruin people’s fun, but safety comes first.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt launching these fireworks or cause damage to other property,” he says.

Fireworks calls have been increasing in the city since 2012. Back then, the department only received 250 calls from July 3-5.

In 2016, that number bumped up to 520 calls, with 23 citations issued.

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