A special task force will patrol St. Charles Parish this weekend in order to enforce the parish’s fireworks ban, according to Sheriff Greg Champagne.
In March, the St. Charles Parish Council shot down a law to legalize fireworks in a 5-4 vote. The ordinance would have allowed the popping of fireworks for a few days a year and for limited hours.
The current fireworks ban has proven difficult to enforce because deputies are usually called to deal with more important crimes during the New Year’s Eve weekend. Deputies must also catch someone in the act of shooting fireworks because most of the noise complaints the Sheriff’s Office receives come from anonymous callers.
However, Champagne said it is clear that the council and Parish President V.J. St. Pierre expect the law to be enforced.
"Twice in the last two years the council considered and rejected a repeal of the fireworks ban," Champagne said. "In fact, practically no one appeared to support the appeal."
Champagne said his office will vigorously enforce the fireworks ban and will use a task force of deputies whose focus will be to write citations for fireworks violations.
Those who want to make a complaint about someone illegally shooting fireworks should call 911. Callers should also indicate if they are willing to sign a complaint.
"If the complainant is unwilling to sign the complaint, deputies will need to catch violators in the act in order to issue a citation. However, be forewarned, deputies will be actively attempting to locate violators," Champagne said. "We know that we won’t catch everyone, but I expect we will issue numerous citations."
Violating the fireworks law can mean up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $100, Champagne said.