Zero tolerance for illegal celebrations
Throughout the celebration of this year's Star Spangled Spectacular July 4, the Storm Lake Police Department encourages precaution, safety and good sense, as well as thinking twice before discharging illegal fireworks.
Storm Lake Police Chief Prosser also said that the police department will once again be exercising a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to possessing or discharging illegal fireworks during the celebration. By Iowa state law, it is illegal to purchase or discharge fireworks, and Storm Lake city ordinance also prohibits their possession. Prosser said that anyone caught possessing or discharging illegal fireworks will be handed a fine not exceeding $100.
Prosser said the crackdown began a few years ago when illegal fireworks progressed from a noisy nuisance to a tangible danger.
"A couple years ago, we had some people injured from individuals firing bottle rockets, or lighting fireworks and then throwing them into a crowd," Prosser said. "From then on, we adopted a zero tolerance policy, and have had less problems since. We've already received a few fireworks complaints and those will be handled accordingly."
In order to accommodate the influx of visitors into the community, Prosser said the department will have extra officers patrolling throughout Storm Lake July 3-7.
Officers will be present with additional patrol cars, ATVs, and will also be on foot, with heavy coverage for the Star Spangled Spectacular activities. The K-9 Unit will also be accessible. Officers will be present on park detail to ensure safety throughout the celebration.
"We will have nearly all of our officers out in order to prevent problems that could arise due to the heavy traffic," Prosser said. "Every officer has an assignment during the event."
Just as in past years, Prosser encourages everyone to enjoy all aspects of the celebration - responsibly - and urges motorists to buckle up and drive the speed limit, particularly around park areas. He also suggests that drivers give themselves extra time when driving across town due to the congested traffic.
"We want people to be aware of the pedestrian traffic, and give themselves plenty of time, because it will take awhile to get from point A to point B."