Gardena officials campaign on fireworks enforcement

As Independence Day draws near, many cities have begun making arrangements to host their annual fireworks shows, except for Gardena which has decided to cancel its annual show at Rowley Park this year.

Although the main fireworks show has been canceled, fireworks shows at other locations in LA County will go on as scheduled.

In addition, Gardena residents will still be able to purchase safe and sane fireworks at all fireworks stands in Gardena.

Gardena Police Capt. Vince Osorio said that despite the lack of an annual show this year, code enforcement of fireworks laws will continue as always. 

In fact, Osorio said that the police department worked closely with the Gardena City Council to ratify a new portion of the city’s municipal code that would provide more options to Gardena Police with regard to enforcing fireworks laws on May 28.

The approach by Gardena Police to team up with the City Council is to strengthen fireworks laws developed after research revealed that many surrounding cities were relying on their existing municipal codes and state statutes.

This year’s fireworks activity will be monitored and enforced by the Gardena fireworks task force, which was formed in December 2020 and comprises members of the Gardena Police code enforcement, LA County Fire, Gardena residents, and Gardena government officials.

Osorio said the purpose of the task force is to outline ideas and suggestions for enforcing the city’s fireworks state and municipal codes.

“What we did was that we found one model where the focus came from code enforcement and basically what code enforcement would do is take reports that were made via Gardena Direct, an app that is used to report anything to the city of Gardena, and doing investigations to try and identify the property owners and if there are fireworks problems that were found to be on private property,” Osorio said. 

As for Independence Day itself, Osorio said that the GPD is currently working on scheduling and will be teaming up with the LA County Fire Department in Gardena to provide increased manpower, which will translate to an increase in code enforcement presence — especially since this year’s holiday falls on a weekend. 

“We have a couple of our special teams that are going to be working on fireworks directly,” Osorio said.

This year, in addition to code enforcement, the Gardena Police will be engaging in an information campaign at the end of May to alert residents that only “safe and sane fireworks” are legal and allowed on July 4th.

The department created three public service ads that aired on Gardena Cable as well as a print ad campaign that ran in the Gardena Valley News. They will also be employing signboards and billboards on Instagram and Facebook.

“The basic message is that only safe and sane fireworks are allowed and that they are only allowed on July 4th between noon and 10 p.m.,” Osorio said. “The penalty for violation will be administrative citations and fines but we’re still working on the amount of the fines,” Osorio said.

According to the GPD Facebook page, “The Gardena Police Department will conduct strict enforcement of fireworks laws this Fourth of July season, in an attempt to educate the public of the dangers of using illegal fireworks.” 

“Our goal is to prevent injuries caused by the possession and/or mishandling of fireworks, both legal (Safe and Sane) and illegal. We are working closely with a county-wide fireworks task force in an effort to curb the amount of illegal fireworks discharged during the 4th of July season,” police said on FB.