Westminster PD amps up enforcement for Fourth of July, offers tips to residents

By Jessica Peralta

In anticipation of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the Westminster PD is beefing up enforcement.

“We are staffing four extra officers every day [July 1-4] and night to help with the increased fireworks calls,” said Commander Mark Lauderback. “They will focus completely on firework-related calls for service.”

Added Lauderback: “Please be patient, our call volumes do quadruple during this time of year.”

Safe and sane fireworks are allowed for purchase and use in the city, but WPD reminds residents that firecrackers, M-1000s, Roman candles and other non-approved fireworks still are illegal. Safe and sane fireworks can be purchased through one of 15 vendors – all nonprofits – from July 1 through July 4. They can be lit on July 4 only, on regular public streets and on a resident’s private property.

“They can’t do it in the public parks,” said Lauderback.

Lauderback said it’s important for people not to modify or alter fireworks in any shape or form. Otherwise, “you don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

Keep kids at a safe distance from fireworks. Also, know that anything not purchased at safe and sane fireworks stands is more than likely illegal “and you will be cited or even arrested if caught with those types of fireworks.”

Fireworks are always a safety risk, so handle them with care.

“There’s always the chance that something could go wrong if you’re not following the manufacturer’s instructions,” Lauderback said.

For residents with pets, WPD’s Animal Control Officer Crystal Sheldon has a few tips regarding the potentially stressful holiday.

“We advise people to keep animals confined,” she said, adding that this means either indoors, in the garage or kennel. “Turn on an ambient noise … like TV or radio to drown out the sound of fireworks.”

Remember to also keep current identification on your pet and updated information with animal control and your pet’s microchip company. If your pet goes missing, make sure to check all shelters the day after the Fourth of July.

“If they find an animal running stray, confine it if possible, if it’s safe to confine it – and contact us or a shelter,” she said. “We are here the Fourth of July and the day after, and we’ll pick up any animal found and take it directly to our shelter.”

List of nonprofit groups that have fireworks booths within the city:

— Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church-Word Youth Ministry

— First Baptist Church

— Friends of Westminster Scouts

— Grupo Folkorico Colores de mi Tierra

— His Place Church (Men’s Ministry)

— Hope Community Church

— Knights of Columbus

— Nicholson Pipes & Drums

— Vietnamese America Chamber of Commerce

— Westminster Elks Lodge #2346

— Westminster High School Boy’s Sports

— Westminster Little League

— Westminster Police Officers Association

— Westminster Sports Academy

— The 670 Club