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Columbia Police Department steps up fireworks patrols

Extra patrol officers from the Columbia Police Department are scheduled to enforce fireworks ordinances from July 1 to July 5. While the police department typically has extra officers on duty around this time every year, this is the first year possession of fireworks is illegal in the city limits.

Columbia Police Department spokesperson Latisha Stroer is asking that individuals with fireworks complaints call the non-emergency number at (573) 442-6131 and not 9-1-1.

“Fireworks are, obviously, the lowest priority but we will respond to every fireworks complaint,” Stroer said.  

Stroer was unable to comment on the amount or location of the extra officers.

Bob Gerau, owner of Bob’s Fireworks located just outside of Columbia, has been a vocal opponent of the ordinance since it was passed last October.

He said he believes there is only an issue around the eastside of the University of Missouri’s campus.

“They’re only having that problem down on the campus. So this is complete overkill. You got a problem in one area, why do you regulate the whole area,” Gerau said.

If someone is cited with fireworks possession, the fines run from 100 to 500 dollars or up to three months in jail, according to Columbia City Court Clerk Nancy Kinsey

“Everybody is going to get a fine if they are found guilty or plead guilty to it. And I think the judge would probably consider…the more dangerous way he though they might be using it would indicate a higher fine,” Kinsey said.           

The City of Columbia does have a professional fireworks display at the Sixth and Cherry Street parking garage scheduled for July 4, at about 9:15 in the evening.

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