Police say they will have ‘zero tolerance’ for fireworks

There will be zero tolerance for the discharge of fireworks in the city limits during the Fourth of July holiday, police officials told the Pine Bluff City Council on Monday.

Police Capt. Greg Shapiro said the use, sale and manufacture of fireworks is not allowed in the city limits because of a city ordinance. Additionally, the use of fireworks would currently violate state law because of an ongoing burn ban that has been issued for Jefferson County and the rest of the state.

“It’s a safety hazard for property; it’s a safety hazard for people; and obviously, it’s a safety hazard for the men and women of our fire department,” Shapiro said. “We don’t want to put them in harm’s way unnecessarily.”

Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services Department spokesman Lt. Harold Clark said firefighters with each neighborhood fire station will be out in their districts as an extra precaution during the burn ban.

“If we see people using fireworks, we will ask them to stop … and contact law enforcement if needed,” Clark said. “Because, again, it’s a safety hazard, and if a fire starts, it could spread easily in these hot, dry conditions.”

People may report the use of fireworks to the fire department non-emergency line at 730-2048 during business hours and the police department non-emergency line at 730-2086 after hours.

The discussion took place during the monthly meeting of the city council Public Safety Committee.

In other business, the committee:

• Discussed what will happen to police department hats purchased earlier this year without council approval. The council later voted not to change the uniform policy, so the hats are currently not wearable. Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield said the believes the department will try to bring the proposed uniform change to the council again. Committee member Alderman Bill Brumett said he did not believe the council would be receptive to the legislation.

• Heard from Shapiro that the department received another year of funding for the police department’s AmeriCorps program and the grant was an increase over the program’s inaugural year last year.

• Heard a request for an added staff jail deputy court clerk position for District Court II with an annual salary and benefits of $32,783, which will be further discussed in an upcoming Administration Committee meeting.

• And heard a presentation from A.W. Nelson, who is offering a building he owns on West 11th Avenue as a possible new location for the police department headquarters. The committee members — Brumett, Irene Holcomb and Wayne Easterly — said they like the facility and recommend that negotiations with the city should continue.