Zero arrests for New Year's fireworks violations 'hard to... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Zero arrests for New Year's fireworks violations 'hard to believe'

Fred Fukamizu Fred Fukamizu
Lee Donohue Lee Donohue

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's police chief says a majority of the public obeyed Oahu's new fireworks law on New Year's Eve, but he acknowledges that illegal fireworks continue to be a problem in certain neighborhoods.

Some residents wonder why more people weren't cited or arrested this past weekend.

When we first met Fred Fukamizu of Waipahu, he was among the many Oahu residents eager to learn how many people Honolulu police arrested for New Year's fireworks violations. He was stunned to hear the number was zero, considering all the illegal aerials lighting up the night sky.

"Hard to believe, I thought it was zero tolerance," Fukamizu said. "If you are caught playing illegal fireworks or you're underage, under 18 years, you will be arrested. I thought it was zero tolerance."

The key word there is "caught."

Then-City Councilmember Lee Donohue was among those who voted for the fireworks ban in 2010. He's also a retired Honolulu police chief who says officers do face an enforcement challenge.

"One of the parts of the law is you have to actually see somebody set it off," Donohue said. "Sure, you see it go off in the air, but by the time you go to where you think the aerials came from, there's nobody that's going to raise their hands."

HPD says it received 854 fireworks complaint calls between December 26 and January 2, down from the more than 1,400 calls received last year.

Donohue hopes the current council will give the new ordinance some time before considering making any amendments.

"I just hope they don't do that," Donohue said. "I just hope they give it another year because there were fireworks that were not turned in. There were fireworks that were probably stored. I think it's a step in the right direction."

While no one was arrested, police say they did issue 27 citations for fireworks violations between December 26 and January 2. There were 309 citations issued last year.

"Twenty-seven out of the whole island?" Fukamizu said. "I mean, they issue out more parking tickets than fireworks in a given day. I find that to be kind of hard to believe."

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