Officials say fireworks enforcement successful


MISSOULA, Mont. - A strict no fireworks policy in city limits seemed to lack enforcement. July 4, 2012: 168 calls flooded the Missoula dispatch center's fireworks complaint hotline. But not a single citation was issued.

But this year was a different story. Law enforcement handed out 20 citations and more than 40 warnings.

"The ordinance has been there for a long time. We focused on education in the past but this time we had to focus on enforcement and I think everybody knew that going in so it seemed like it was very well received," said Missoula Police Department Capt. Chris Odlin.

City officials believe the cooperation had something to do with increased awareness.

"We did a lot of public information leading up to the 4th of July holiday and people listened, heard it and understood," said City Communications Director Ginny Merriam.

"It seemed like there was a lot less fireworks in Missoula as a long time resident here," said Odlin.

Overall they're pleased with the outcome.

"I have heard from many, many people saying thank you, thank you my neighborhood was so quiet," said Merriam.

"I have heard from some constituents, other colleagues on the City Council who seem to think that there was a little better response from the public in terms of use of fireworks this year than past years," said City Council Member Dave Strohmaier.

So what's next? Strohmaier says he and other City Council members want more feedback and more discussion to effectively gear up for July 4, 2014.

"What I'm asking from the public is let us know how you think this last year 4th of July really transpired in Missoula."

Comments about 4 th of July and the fireworks enforcement can be directed to Missoula City Council members.