The Kent Police Department is staffing additional officers during the week of the 4th of July Holiday, and they’re offering the following reminders to residents:
In addition to a contingent of officers providing security and traffic control at the Fourth of July Splash event at Lake Meridian, the department is bringing in additional officers to handle what we expect will be a high demand for emergency and priority calls based on past experience. The department is also fielding fireworks enforcement teams starting July 1st and running through July 6th. These teams will be assigned to address fireworks violations and are being directed to take enforcement action whenever feasible. Voluntary compliance with the law is the key goal for department.
“I want to recognize the community for their efforts during last year’s holiday. It is a credit to them that we saw a decrease in 911 fireworks calls of 43% from 2017. That said, there will still likely be more fireworks complaint calls than we can get to. We are going to do our best to get to every fireworks complaint, but even with the increased staffing we will not have the resources to get to them all,” said Chief Rafael Padilla.
We want to remind residents that it is unlawful for any person to discharge or possess fireworks of any kind within the city; here’s what the law says (Kent City Code 13.05.060):
- Discharging fireworks at any time is illegal, and subject $250 ticket and the seizure of your fireworks.
- Discharge of fireworks in a reckless manner or possession of more than 20 pounds is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or $5000 fine.
- The only exception to this ban are public displays that have complied with the appropriate permitting process through the city.
Currently the only permitted public display is at the Splash event at Lake Meridian Park on July 4th.
“Splash is a great family friendly free event. We are encouraging everyone who wants to celebrate the holiday by watching fireworks do so by attending Splash,” Chief Padilla added.
Residents can assist the police with this stepped up enforcement by calling 911 when fireworks are being discharged in their neighborhoods. We ask that residents not call to report general information about fireworks being lit off. Instead, we ask residents call 911 only when they can provide specific information regarding the specific location, description of those involved and the type of fireworks being discharged. This will give officers a better likelihood of successfully taking enforcement action. It also frees up 911 lines for other emergency calls for service.
“Chief Padilla and the men and women of the Kent Police Department want to wish everyone a safe and joyous 4th of July Holiday.”