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JPD braces for busiest two days of the year

Posted: July 3, 2014 - 12:13am
Juneau Police Department officers and Alaska State Troopers escort a U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard during the 2011 Juneau 4th of July parade. July 3 and 4 are by far the police department's two busiest days of the year.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Juneau Police Department officers and Alaska State Troopers escort a U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard during the 2011 Juneau 4th of July parade. July 3 and 4 are by far the police department's two busiest days of the year.

As thousands of people turn out to ooh and ahh over the city-sponsored firework display downtown on July 3 and to watch the parades and soapboxes derbies on July 4, police will be out in full force keeping the peace.

July 3-4 are by far the two busiest days of the year for the Juneau Police Department, and JPD says they are staffing accordingly.

“Basically, every officer that works for us, from the chief of police down to the newest hire, will be working either the night of the third or the day of the fourth,” JPD spokesman Lt. David Campbell said in an interview.

JPD’s 39 uniformed officers will be doing crowd control, patrolling for drunken drivers on the roads and responding to crimes against people and property in addition to responding to regular 911 calls.

“It’s kind of a mix-mash of a lot of different things, it runs the gambit,” Campbell said when asked what kinds of things people on the street get in trouble for on Independence Day.

One year, Campbell arrested a man for driving drunk in the cordoned-off area on Douglas in the middle of the parade.

“Most of it tends to be the disorderly conduct, alcohol-related type cases,” he added. “This is my 20th (time working the) Fourth of July, and it definitely is more of a party, rowdy, atmosphere than at other times.”

JPD is often flooded with complaints about fireworks, and they will be responding to those, too, Campbell said. They’re doing it a little differently this year, he noted.

JPD is asking anyone with a fireworks complaint to call the JPD business line at 500-0600 (unless it’s an emergency, in which case call 911), and the dispatchers will place the complaint in a que for available officers to respond to.

Campbell said they’re making an extra effort to make sure officers respond to such complaints, but that noise complaints fall low on their list of priorities. The first priorities are crimes against people and property, then public order and nuisance-type calls, then noise complaints, he said.

“We don’t ignore them, but they are prioritized based on our other calls for service, and if we have crimes against people, those take priority,” Campbell said.

JPD hopes its presence on the streets will help deter crime, Campbell said. He added that there is no exception to the open container laws on the Fourth.

“We don’t want to be party poopers or a big wet blanket out there,” Campbell said. “We want people to have fun, but we want them to do it responsibly. A successful Fourth for us is when we don’t have these outrageous calls or fights or domestics. If we can just be a visible presence, and help people make responsible choices, then it’s a success on our end.”

For those wondering, fireworks are legal to set off in a residential neighborhood. “Salable” fireworks are allowed but “dangerous fireworks” are not. Read the state statute online at www.juneauempire.com to learn more about the law.

Sec. 18.72.100. Definitions.

In this chapter and fireworks regulations adopted in the state fire safety code,

(1) “dangerous fireworks” includes all fireworks that are not defined as salable fireworks;

(2) “fire safety code” means the fire safety code of the state adopted and administered by the division of fire prevention of the Department of Public Safety;

(3) “fireworks” means salable fireworks or dangerous fireworks;

(4) “salable fireworks” are 1.4 G fireworks, as defined by the National Fire Protection Association, and, more specifically, shall include and be limited to the following:

(A) roman candles, not exceeding 10 balls spaced uniformly in the tube, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 20 grams each in weight, any inside tube diameter not to exceed 3/8 inch;

(B) skyrockets with sticks, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 20 grams each in weight, and the inside tube diameter not to exceed 1/2 inch, with the rocket sticks being securely fastened to the tubes;

(C) helicopter type rockets, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 20 grams each in weight, and the inside tube diameter not to exceed 1/2 inch;

(D) cylindrical fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 75 grams each in weight, and the inside tube diameter not to exceed 3/4 inch;

(E) cone fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 50 grams each in weight;

(F) wheels, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 60 grams for each driver unit or 240 grams for each complete wheel, and the inside tube diameter of driver units not to exceed 1/2 inch;

(G) illuminating torches and colored fire in any form, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 100 grams each in weight;

(H) dipped sticks, the pyrotechnic composition of which contains chlorate or perchlorate, that do not exceed five grams, and sparklers, the composition of which does not exceed 100 grams each and that contains no magnesium or magnesium and a chlorate or perchlorate;

(I) mines and shells of which the mortar is an integral part, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed 40 grams each in weight;

(J) firecrackers with soft casings, the external dimensions of which do not exceed one and one-half inches in length or one-quarter inch in diameter, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed two grains each in weight;

(K) novelties consisting of two or more devices enumerated in this paragraph when approved by the Bureau of Explosives.

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Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 07/03/14 - 09:03 am
With all due respect, to JPD,

With all due respect, to JPD, all fireworks are dangerous and they should not be used in neighborhoods, period.
The "state statute" is a technical code it is not "public policy". Juneau needs a fireworks policy. Our community is "Home rule" which means we have been decentralized from the state. We are supposed to hold public hearings and come up with our own public policies to meet the needs of our community. Most other towns in Alaska have created their own fireworks policy but not Juneau. CBJ & five assembly members are preventing it.

Fireworks in neighborhoods are causing serious problems for many people please do not set them off. Our community should designate an area (s) for people to go and set off their fireworks for a limited period during the holidays. Designating areas is a very common sense proposal, which is understood and used throughout Juneau. It is the right thing to do because everyone should have a chance to enjoy the holiday. Let us not normalize the use of explosive devices next to homes.

Elva Bontrager
Elva Bontrager 07/03/14 - 09:05 am
A Pedantic Note

The reporter should slow down a tad.

"gambit" means something totally different from "gamut".

"queue" is usually not spelled "que".

If we want our young folks to know how to spell... :)

Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 07/03/14 - 12:23 pm
Setting off fireworks next to

Setting off fireworks next to peoples homes is a form of bullying.
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others.

"JPD is often flooded with complaints about fireworks"

We should never force people to endure things that are harming them. It's wrong. People are being harmed in our community by the loud explosions, they can't use their yards, or let their pets outside, pets are having to be sedated, people are ridiculed and have been retaliated against for complaining.....

Lorraine Murray
Lorraine Murray 07/03/14 - 12:23 pm
What does the National Fire

What does the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA say about consumer fireworks?
NFPA is the authority on fire, electrical and building safety, they say leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks.
Why? Because each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.
Alliance members include:

•American Academy of Family Physicians
•American Academy of Ophthalmology
•American Association of Public Health Physicians
•American Burn Association
•American College of Emergency Physicians
•American Society of Plastic Surgeons
•American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
•American Society for Surgery of the Hand
•Center for Injury Research & Policy
•Child Injury Prevention Alliance
•Emergency Nurses Association
•Fire Department Safety Officers Association
•International Association of Arson Investigators
•International Association of Fire Chiefs
•International Association of Fire Fighters
•International Fire Marshals Association
•Metropolitan Fire Chiefs
•Minnesotans For Safe Fireworks
•National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
•National Association of State Fire Marshals
•National Association of School Nurses
•National Volunteer Fire Council
•Prevent Blindness

Source: NFPA.org

Samuel Joplin
Samuel Joplin 07/03/14 - 05:34 pm
Lorrraine... Lowhine... Lowhiner

So, Lorraine... why do you hate fireworks? Don't you know how to have fun? Maybe your mom didn't let you play with the sparklers when you were little?

These are not weapons of mass destruction or tools designed to cause malicious injury. Did you really have to use the "bullying" reference? That is getting so tired and overused by every whiner in town. "I don't like that, so you're bullying me!" Maybe Ms. Murray, it is you who is acting like the bully by trying to control everyone else from having a little fun.

Maybe you just need to suck it up for a day and let people around you enjoy their little explosives. As long as they don't shoot them at you, what's the harm? Don't you dare make some climate change reference!!

you really should just try to relax and be more tolerant of other people's quest to have fun. Have a great Independence Day! ... And the rockets red glare...

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