For police, 4th of July means plenty of work chasing down illegal fireworks

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: July 3, 2014 - 1:15 PM

APPLETON, Wis. — With the Fourth of July weekend just ahead, many Wisconsinites may be thinking of stocking up on fireworks. It's easy to do, with the fireworks widely available and legal to buy.

But state law also says only people with a permit are allowed to light fireworks that leave the ground or blow up. The fact that many such fireworks are used illegally is a frustration for police around this time of year.

Appleton Police Sgt. Dave Lund tells Post-Crescent Media (http://post.cr/1lX4pjt ) that it puts police in a tough spot.

"I love fireworks, but the problem is the line here between sales and possession and use, and we end up being the bad guy in the equation because we have to go and confiscate (illegal fireworks) and write tickets," Lund said.

Lund said illegal fireworks draw noise complaints, but they're also a threat for injuries and damage.

"It's such a safety concern," he said. "Professionals have mortar-type (containers) to drop fireworks in. Your neighbor isn't going to have that."

In Menasha, police estimate about 70 percent of the fireworks to be shot off this weekend will be done so illegally.

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