The long 4th of July weekend kept those working in the Stearns County Sheriff's Office busy.  Sheriff Steve Soyka joined me on WJON.  He says they saw an increase in calls over the long weekend but it wasn't anything they couldn't handle or too major.  Soyka says there were no calls related to injury due to fireworks but they did receive some calls complaining about noise due to fireworks use.

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Soyka says people can be cited for illegal use of fireworks in Minnesota.  He explains it would involve them catching the offender in the act.  The Sheriff says it isn't that hard to catch people because officers can pinpoint the location and there is typically evidence left behind.  He says their water patrol a lot of times locate offenders.  Soyka explains the typical complaint due to fireworks is noise but can also be concern for animals.

Fireworks Law in Minnesota.

Specifically Prohibited By Law in Minnesota:

  • Firecrackers, torpedoes, missiles, skyrockets, bottle rockets, roman candles, daygo bombs, chasers, parachutes. mines and shells.

Specifically Permitted By Law in Minnesota:

  • Wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of pyrotechnic composition per item.
  • Ground-based sparkling devices which are non-explosive and non-aerial (fireworks packaging doesn’t leave the ground).
  • Contain 75 grams or less of pyrotechnic powder / chemical mixture per tube or a total of 500 grams or less for multiple tube items.
  • Approved consumer fireworks include fountains, cones, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, flashing signals / strobes, snakes, glow worms, trick noisemakers, party poppers, and snappers.

Soyka says one of the top call concerns his office is receiving are behavioral health type calls.  He says that can range from anyone making a suicidal comment or making a suicidal threat or someone just having an episode.  Soyka says even though, to some, it doesn't seem like it's a law enforcement problem, it is because they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  He says his officers are trained to handle these type of situations.  Soyka says a behavioral health call isn't a violation of the law.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Sheriff Steve Soyka, it is available below.



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