El Monte City Council Recognizes Achievements of the Fireworks Ad Hoc Committee Members
The El Monte City Council commended the hard work and dedication of the City’s Fireworks Ad Hoc Committee members, whose efforts reduced the use of dangerous illegal fireworks over the July 4th holiday.
“This year, we banded together in an effort to find real solutions to dealing with illegal fireworks within our City,” said El Monte City Councilman Bart Patel, who put together the special fireworks task force to address the problem. “We couldn’t have accomplished as much as we did this year without the support from every member of this committee.”
The committee is comprised of representatives from the El Monte Police Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, various City departments, local nonprofits, business organizations and concerned citizens.
This year, the El Monte Police Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department seized more than 38 tons of illegal fireworks during sting operations in several area cities, resulting in 45 felony arrests.
Those caught using illegal fireworks faced a $1,000 fine thanks to a new ordinance passed by the City Council in March. This year, the El Monte Police Department cited 74 individuals with illegal firework citations. Last year, the Department issued 24 citations and has so far collected $5,450 in fines.
Over the past few years, there has been overwhelming resident concern over the use of illegal fireworks, which has led to serious injuries, property fires and an overburdened El Monte Police Department.
Efforts to educate the public on this new ordinance included a public service announcement and an anonymous fireworks phone line. In addition, school assemblies were conducted, street banners were placed on busy intersections and more than 20,000 fliers were distributed to residents.
“We wanted to make it clear that if you use or posses illegal fireworks in El Monte, you will receive a citation for $1,000,” El Monte Police Chief Steve Schuster said. “This was a zero-tolerance program because the safety of our community was our utmost priority.”
Enforcement on July 4 included 34 extra police officers and supervisors on patrol who were dedicated solely for the purpose of issuing citations and making arrests on July 4, from 2 p.m. to midnight. The El Monte Police Department responded to 163 calls complaining about illegal fireworks.