IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Falls Police Department plans to put all of its officers on duty Thursday.
Police say they will attempt to answer all fireworks complaints but may have to prioritize due to sheer volume.
The department expects an increased number of public calls, large public events, and firework complaints to keep them busy throughout the day and night.
Roads will also be busy and generate an increased number of traffic accidents and enforcement issues.
Last year, police responded to 1,408 service calls in the week around the 4th of July, which was about 28% over normal call volume. As of Tuesday, the department has seen 464 calls since Sunday.
Melaleuca estimates over 200,000 people will watch their Freedom Celebration fireworks display Thursday night. Idaho State Police and Bonneville County deputies will also step up their presence.
Police said they will make every effort to respond to citizen noise complaints. A fireworks complaint that does not include a safety concern may be considered a lower priority.
The department has outlined its policy for handling firework complaints:
The Emergency Communications Dispatcher will advise the caller of the estimated time before an officer is expected to be able to respond to that call for service. Dispatch will hold the call-for-service and will dispatch an officer as soon as one is available. If an officer is not available to respond within two hours due to other urgent calls-for-service, and no further calls have been received indicating that the fireworks have continued, that call-for-service will be closed.
In order to issue a citation or take a police action, officers have to witness the individual possessing or lighting the fireworks or the caller must be willing to sign a citation for disturbing the peace. Most of the time callers want to remain anonymous and are not willing to sign the citation. Oftentimes, even if an officer is immediately available when the call comes in the activity is not happening when officers arrive even just minutes later.
In order to try to better address these calls, the Idaho Falls Police Department will have an additional two-person team dedicated to responding to fireworks complaints on July 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th during the evening hours. These officers will be dedicated to responding to fireworks complaints throughout the city. Officers regularly on duty will assist with those calls for service as much as they are able around other calls for service and public safety responsibilities.
The Idaho Falls Police Department would like to encourage anyone using fireworks this year to be courteous to their neighbors and to make safety the first priority. Fireworks are a fun way to celebrate this time of year, but can also cause significant harm to people and property if not handled cautiously.
Community members are asked to please call dispatch if they witness unsafe or illegal use of fireworks.
As a reminder, illegal and banned fireworks include, but are not limited to, firecrackers, cannon crackers, blank cartridges, skyrockets, rockets, roman candles, chasers, whistles, all torpedoes that explode by means of friction and toy cannons. Possession of these types of fireworks is illegal and law enforcement and/or fire officials may seize them.