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SF Police Respond To Fireworks Calls

Kealey Bultena

During the Fourth of July weekend celebrations, Sioux Falls Police responded to nearly 270 calls about fireworks, but they issued zero tickets. Officer Sam Clemens says authorities have that discretion when it comes to citations.

"And we’ve had it before in the past when officers show up at the fireworks complaint they’ll write a ticket right away. Other times, other officers will just let them know that they can’t shoot the fireworks off and, if they continue, they could receive a ticket, but it’s no different than the other tickets that officers write: they have the discretion whether they want to give a warning or if they want to write that ticket," Clemens says.

Clemens says officials have issued a handful of tickets each holiday for the last several years. He says the number of calls this year is typical of Independence Day. Clemens says police did write two fireworks citations in 2015, but those violations were in February.

One fireworks-related call did lead to felony charges. Officials say two teenage boys pretended to have explosives at a Sioux Falls park. Clemens says it happened Thursday evening. He says a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old had a backpack, and they talked about explosives including C-4.

"There were some people that saw they had something inside the backpack and overheard them talking and then called police," Clemens says. "What the officers found is that it was some fireworks. They had actually repackaged some of these fireworks and had some duct tape and electrical tape and had some electrical wires sticking out of it. [They] had somebody from the bomb squad come up and checked it out and ended up being fine. There was no C-4, no explosives with that. But these two were charged. There was a felony charge. It’s Use of a Hoax Substance to Cause Fear."

The teenagers were placed with Volunteers of America. Clemens says this incident is unusual among the hundreds of fireworks  calls police receive.