Tacoma Police: Special enforcement patrols net 500 pounds of illegal fireworks

The Tacoma Police Department reported yesterday that 500 pounds of illegal fireworks were confiscated over the three-day Independence Day weekend. Additionally, officers issued at least 17 fireworks-related citations, and spent $23,120 on budgeted overtime enforcement patrols between July 3 and July 5.

That said, police officers responded to 441 fireworks-related calls. Thirty-nine percent of the calls originated in the city’s East Side. The city’s North End accounted for 24 percent of the calls. Nineteen percent of the calls came from the South End. And 16 percent of the calls were from Sector One, which includes Hilltop, downtown, and Northeast neighborhoods.

Assistant police chief Robert Sheehan said one factor contributing to the high volume of calls in the city’s East End is the fact that it is near Native American tribal land where fireworks are legal.

Similarly, Tacoma Fire Department reported it responded to 22 fireworks-related calls between June 28 and July 5. Of those calls, three involved structure fires with property damage estimated at $49,200. Local hospitals reported 21 emergency room visits related to injuries from fireworks.

Still, the figures were much better than in earlier years, according to Tacoma police, and an enforcement plan appeared to have been effective.

“All in all, our fireworks enforcement plan worked well,” said Sheehan, who updated members of Tacoma City Council’s public safety, human services, and education committee yesterday. “The noise level was way down earlier in the day and late at night.”

“This was by far the quietest 4th of July,” said Councilmember Rick Talbert. He added that he had already received e-mails and phone calls from constituents echoing that sentiment. “I’ve heard from constituents near Roosevelt area Elementary School who said this was a peaceful weekend.”