La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten has a simple message when it comes to fireworks being blown off after the appropriate dates.
“The fifth is not July 4,” Lausten said.
It may sound like a simple plea that no fireworks be shot off after Independence Day, but each year law enforcement agencies throughout Sarpy County receive dozens of complaints about people continuing to celebrate with a bang.
Lausten said La Vista received 43 calls for fireworks complaints in 2018, 21 of which came after July 4.
“With the rain last year on the Fourth, people used that as their alibi for shooting them off the next day,” Lausten said.
With the days following the Fourth being Friday and Saturday this year, local law enforcement has an even greater concern illegal discharges are going to run rampant.
So they’re teaming up to do something about it.
Lausten is joining fellow Sarpy County police chiefs Mark Elbert (Bellevue) and Scott Lyons (Papillion) along with Sarpy County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Greg London in creating a public service announcement attempting to educate residents on being responsible with their fireworks.
They put together a short video explaining the do’s and don’ts of fireworks, having a little fun with the process. The video can be viewed on the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
“We have a great collaboration with the other agencies and it was a good time doing the PSA,” Lausten said.
“Education is the most important piece in something like this.”
They also want to get the message across that 911 isn’t always the best number to call when it comes to fireworks complaints. In a non-emergency situation, people are asked to call 402-593-4111 in regard to fireworks.
“Last year, 911 got turned upside down with more than 200 calls in one day,” Lausten said.
“Obviously, if there is a dangerous situation or an injury, they should call 911. Otherwise, we’re directing people to call the non-emergency number.”
Lausten hopes people will be respectful of neighbors and pets when it comes to shooting off fireworks.
“When stuff is going off after midnight or the day after the Fourth, it affects the whole neighborhood,” Lausten said.
“The big focus is on safety and being respectful. We are asking people to please adhere to the rules and be respectful of others.”
If those rules are broken, Lausten said law enforcement will do its part to defuse the situation.
“We don’t want to rain on people’s parade, but if you’re doing this after hours or after the days allowed, your material can be confiscated and you could be cited,” he said.