Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Will it work?

The kinds of fireworks that are legal in Lincoln are pretty limited. Basically, if it goes bang, it's probably illegal. The most common fireworks, firecrackers and bottle rockets, are both prohibited. In addition, you can only discharge the legal type on two days: July 3 and July 4. I laid out more of the details in The Chief's Corner last year. We get fairly deluged with complaints, and the violations are so numerous it's hard to know where to start.

Last week I did interviews on our two local news radio stations, KLIN and KFOR. One of the subjects that came up was fireworks. During the two interviews, I floated a new approach--warning listeners that we're going to give enforcement the old college try this year, by encouraging our officers to issue more citations for violations. It may be a lost cause, but we'll see if the hardline approach is any more effective.

You can watch for yourself, as the week unfolds. I'll throw in July 5, too, since the legal time period ends at midnight. Here's the numbers for last year:


Anonymous said...

Managing fireworks appears to be as daunting of a task as is managing public consumption on Game Day. Good Luck on giving both the Ol' College Try.

Anonymous said...

Fireworks are a fond memory of my childhood. Cherry Bombs in fresh cow piles ring a bell anyone? Larceny in the form of a raid on a neighbor's watermelon patch is another. Minor vandalisms on Halloween like upsetting an outhouse have to be included.

It is a miracle I survived to the "Old Phart" stage of life!

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

You ain't a patriot...taking out all the fun out of our National Holiday, the birth of this Great Nation! Bang? It's illegal??! If one doesn't like it...Move to England and be ruled by a monarch! This is a democracy!

Anonymous said...

Chief, is this illegal? I really don't want to get arrested due to the "old college try."

Anonymous said...

When you linked to to Urban Dictionary I'm guessing you were referencing the first definition. Although two was humorous, it was also inappropriate probably. Finally, three...well, I almost fell out of my chair reading three.

"To gather your friends, buy some cheap beer, order a pizza, and forget about tomorrow.

Calvin: Dad, what does it mean to "give it the old college try?"

Dad: It's when you gather your friends, buy some cheap beer, order a pizza, and forget about tomorrow.

Mom: That is NOT what it means.

Dad: Where did you go to college?"

I hope this is not the definition that your officers choose to go by. Nevertheless, thanks for the laugh; it made my day

Anonymous said...

This is a bang......arrrrrghhhhhhhhhh

Tom Casady said...


Your elected representatives enact these laws. This is a Representative Democracy!


Yeah, you're right about definition number 2, so I unlinked it. I, too, got a chuckle out of number 3.

Anonymous said...

If this is a representative democracy, how come we have the wrong President of the US leading us right now because Gore won the popular vote in 2000....hmmmm....talk about ruling by the minority.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how incosiderate people can be to their own neighbors. Whether it's barking dogs at all hours or shooting off (illegal) fireworks at all hours, the self-centeredness never ends. I don't really have a problem with people who want to try to blow their fingers off at their own risk on their own property. But I don't like it when they shoot off things that go up in the air and then land in my yard or on my roof. When I was a kid some of the kids on my block nearly burnt down the neighbor's house with bottlerockets. That's a memory I'm reminded of every year as I'm picking up my neighbor's dead bottlerockets out of my yard and gutters.

All I can say is thank God the 4th is on a Friday this year so I don't have to be up early the next morning. Why parents let their little hellions shoot these things off past 10pm, past midnight... and beyond... is an utter mystery to me. I guess they think their neighbors don't have to sleep at night. Can't people celebrate their independence before midnight?

Anonymous said...

To clue in 11:30, our local government is indeed a representative democracy, but our national government is a representative republic.

Anonymous said...

11:30 -

The right President is in office. If you recall we had an election in 2004 which he won fair and square.

11:47 -

My guess is a good portion of parents dont know what their kids are doing. Some of those same parents are doing it with them. Still other parents really dont care what their kids do.

Anonymous said...

wow...there's a big surprise. don't have enough money for gas to have the officers sit in the air conditioned car to do speed checks anymore so make up for it by raining on people's fun and writing citations for fireworks

Anonymous said...

If you've been observant, you would have noticed more officers are doing "speed checks" by standing in the hot sun on hot pavement while running radar and flagging the cars over. We are doing our part to conserve gas. If you had to wear long pants, 2 shirts and a heavy bullet proof vest to work daily, you would certainly enjoy the air conditioning as well. My guess is that you're working in an office where it's nice and cool anyway and take your luxury for granted.

Anonymous said...

actually i work in a kitchen next to 400 plus degree ovens for my job. and i do notice them standing outside their cars but just because they are finally having to be uncomfortable to save on gas doesn't mean that this action of citing people for illegal fireworks isn't just a way they are trying to make up for the rising gas costs. they are coming down on people celebrating and having a good time and trying to make some extra money for their dept before the mayor and city council axe their budget and reduce police officers

Anonymous said...

The only problem I have with fireworks celebrated to enjoy the fourth of July is that people think it's time to celebrate on the 10th of June, 11th of June, 12th of June etc... If they were just lit on the fourth, I would say have at it and go till 2 in the morning and make more of them legal. If your gonna celebrate holidays two weeks before they start then start sending me Christmas presents on Dec 15th. I'll be waiting.

Anonymous said...

So you actually believe that LPD gets the fine monies that result from writing citations?

Anonymous said...

3:09 needs to go back to the Journal Star comment sections to spread his ignorant theories and stay off of here.

Anonymous said...

People in my apartment complex have been setting off very, very loud fireworks since 7:30 this evening. I'm taking the kind that make the appliances in my kitchen vibrate. My heart is still pounding from the many, many explosions. If I heard these any other time I'd dial 911 because I'd think something had exploded.

Tell me why some of you people think things like this should be legal?

Anonymous said...

no. i don't believe that lpd gets the fine money from citations. i believe however the that the city view the lpd as an income source because of the fine money they receive from the citations they write. i think its kinda funny how most cities the size of lincoln or larger have gotten rid of parking meters in general but especially their downtown areas and lpd is like a predator waiting in the dark to pounce on the cars that are there as soon as that meter time hits zero. i think its kind of funny how despite the claim that quotas aren't real that a majority of the tickets written for speeding in a month come in one large chunk instead of being more spread out throughout the month. if the lpd finds another source to fine people and show that they have increased the income to the city then they are just saying to the mayor/city council we are being productive don't cut our budget

Tom Casady said...


As I have often mentioned in The Chief's Corner, Nebraska's Constitution requires that fines be paid by the court into the general fund of the local school district. Money from fines does not benefit the City in any way. It costs us money to issue tickets, it doesn't make us money.

Anonymous said...

I find it very hard to believe that all the money from fines goto the school district. If this were the case, then why does 78% of my taxes goto the schools. 78% is a guess, a close one at that. My guess is we are paying the administration way to much money to push a pencil.

I do see the officers standing along the street in the heat. I feel for them. I can only say one thing, I work in garbage and I chose this profession. So did the officer. If you dont like it, find something else to do. At a 40K starting wage for LPD, I think I can handle standing in the heat stopping someone from speeding and driving recklessly and possably stopping someone from hurting somebody else.

It shouldn't be about wages as there are alot of other people that make alot less and do it everyday without bennies and only three days a year off, no insurance and a much more laborious job!

As far as fireworks go, I tend to like to save a bit of money and waste it in one night but thats me. I think the local law is dumb and shamefully enforced as it is a more serious waste of my dollars. I would rather pay for an officer to sit in his or her car at 84th and Elizabeth Dr. catching speeders then to pay for them to respond to a fireworks complaint.

Anonymous said...

LPS gets the money, minus court costs. LPS has their mitts into everything. Prop tax, gas tax, gambling tax, etc. They're an inefficient outfit that does a worse job every year, and does it with more of your money. Ask yourself if the average kid they crank out seems more or less literate than they did 10, 20, or 40 years ago.

Anyway, if I was one of those "other people that make alot less and do it everyday without bennies and only three days a year off, no insurance and a much more laborious job", I'd go talk to a military recruiter and raise my right hand. I'd get 30 days off per annum, not 3, and with pretty decent bennies. It's a safer job than working night shift at a convenience store, for example, or living in South Chicago.

If your complaint is with all decent fireworks being against the law, type a letter to your city council rep and ask them to amend that ordinance. However, that still wouldn't get us really big firecrackers, as the feds made everything worth having illegal way back in 1966.

Anonymous said...

Article VII-5 of the Nebraska Constitution says, All fines, penalties, and license money arising under the general laws of the state, except fines and penalties for violation of laws prohibiting the overloading of vehicles used upon the public roads and highways of this state, shall belong and be paid over to the counties respectively where the same may be levied or imposed, and all fines, penalties, and license money arising under the rules, bylaws, or ordinances of cities, villages, precincts, or other municipal subdivision less than a county shall belong and be paid over to the same respectively.All such fines, penalties, and license money shall be appropriated exclusively to the use and support of the common schools in the respective subdivisions where the same may accrue, except that all fines and penalties for violation of laws prohibiting the overloading of vehicles used upon the public roads and highways shall be placed as follows: Seventy-five per cent in a fund for state highways and twenty-five per cent to the county general fund where the fine or penalty is paid.

Stay in school.

Lorimor said...

No "bang" fireworks in Lincoln? What do you think this is, Iowa?

What a bunch of crybabies.