No Waterloo Fireworks Ban-But Police Will Crack Down on Violators
The fuse has run out and the possible ban on fireworks in Waterloo turned out to be a "dud".
An on-going debate on a proposed city-wide ban of fireworks has finally came to an end during the Waterloo City Council meeting on Monday. In early March, it looked like a ban was going to have the support of the majority of city council members.
Now, city council members voted 6-1 against a fireworks ban. City council member, Margaret Klein, who introduced the proposal, was left by herself to vote "yes", after original avid supporters like Sharon Juon and David Boesen voted "no".
As reported two weeks ago by the WCF Courier, Boesen suggested that local officials work with Waterloo Police Department on how go about enforcement. Also mentioning that "current Waterloo regulations (and a potential ban), lack merit without support from police."
After lifting the ban last year, Waterloo Police received 686 calls complaining about fireworks, and only ONE citation was issued. Now it appears the city council has the support of the police department and its chief. In a Courier article, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said:
"his department has plans to ramp up enforcement of the existing fireworks ordinance, cracking down on detonations after hours and outside the three-day July 3-5 window."
Fireworks are allowed in the state of Iowa from June 1 through July 8 (and Dec. 10 through Jan. 3.), individual cities are allowed to make their own rules. In 2019, Waterloo decided to allow fireworks from July 3 through July 5. Starting in June, the Waterloo Police Department will adopt a zero tolerance policy, and violators will be charged a minimum $375 fine. Officers will also be logging overtime in early July to help with enforcement.
If you plan on buying fireworks in Waterloo, expect to receive a flyer with your purchase. The Courier also mentioned that the police department will be working with vendors to help educate fireworks fans about the city rules.
Another reason city council members, that originally supported a ban, voted "no", could possibly be because of rumors of possible state legislation that would set fireworks hours across the state. Which, I assume, would over-ride any and all city regulations.
Whether or not you support a fireworks ban, let's hope things don't get quite as crazy as last summer. I do remember, it seemed like as soon as the state started allowing fireworks sales on June 1st last year, the amateur fireworks shows started on what seemed like a nightly basis. Last year, I'm not sure if all the neighborhood fireworks were because of "covid stress", boredom, over whatever you want to call it, but people may have gotten a little too crazy.
I love watching and shooting off fireworks just as much the next guy, but I also think we need to keep in mind our friends and neighbors with post-traumatic stress disorder, those with small children and pets, and those with health-related issues...and act responsibly...when we're celebrating America's freedom.