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So How Did Bend Officials Do With Their 4th of July Enforcement?

Back before the 4th of July, I talked about how I hated the holiday and how the local police were trying to make an effort to cut down on use of illegal fireworks locally with a large advertising campaign and media blitz. I predicted they'd give out less than 10 fireworks-related citations. That number ended up being far less. Read on...

Bend Fire and Police Departments – Fireworks Patrols

Bend Police Officers and Fire Inspectors were teamed together on the 4th of July to respond to complaints of illegal fireworks use. Three patrols groups were on the streets of Bend on Independence Day from 1900-2330 hours. The goal of the patrols was to reduce the use of illegal fireworks and the risk of fire or injury from those fireworks. Persons found using illegal fireworks are subject to citations up to $1,000 and confiscation of all illegal fireworks by city ordinance. Bend also has an ordinance that prohibits children under the age of 18 to possess, use, or sell fireworks of any type.

Citizens were encouraged to call the Deschutes County 911 Center’s non-emergency phone line to report illegal firework use. Dispatchers then directed one of the patrols to that area to investigate the complaint. Throughout the evening, Deschutes County 911 received more than 100 complaints of illegal fireworks in the City of Bend. The patrols and other Bend Police Department officers made more than 150 contacts. Three (3) $1,000 citations were issued for illegal fireworks use. Fourteen (14) confiscations were made totaling $600 worth of illegal fireworks. The confiscated fireworks were collected as evidence and turned over to the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad for proper disposal.

Leading up to the 4th of July, the Bend Fire and Police Departments worked extensively to educate the public on what type of fireworks are safe and legal to use within the City of Bend and what types are illegal to use. Information on safe use of fireworks was provided to all fireworks sales locations to be handed out with every sale. Citizens could also visit the City of Bend web page for this information. Staff worked with our local media to conduct stories and place advertising about fireworks safety and the patrols that would be taking place on the 4th of July. As a result of the increased patrols and education fireworks caused fires were reduced by 79% compared to last year.

The taskforce met after the 4th of July to review and critique the program to prepare for next year. We look forward to continuing this great program of fire and life safety.

Contacts by Patrols

152 (groups and individuals)

Citations

3 ($1,000 each)

Confiscations

14

Value of the Confiscations

$600


So they followed up on 152 calls, confiscated in less than 10% of those, and only issued citations in a grand total of three. Yes, I know they had to catch the person in the act to actually cite them, but three? I could've picked off a dozen on my block alone (which is why I left for most of the evening). How many did they pick off last year? It seems that using this as a deterrent for people isn't going to be really effective when the worst that could happen is they lose their fireworks (and that seems to only happen infrequently).

How much did this extra media attention and advertising cost the City? Was it worth it? The release says there were fewer fires this year, but is that because of this enforcement or because of pure luck and coincidence?

Oh well -- at least my house didn't burn down (I did follow monkey's advice and ran my sprinklers for a bit, even though I wasn't supposed to).
Posted by Jake on 07/17/08 @ 10:51 PM
Posted in Local | Permalink



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