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South Bend Fireworks Laws June 24, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, In The News, News Releases.
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This is the time of year the phones are lit up with calls asking about or complaining about fireworks use. Here are a couple of frequently asked questions, as well as the city ordinance regarding fireworks use within the city limits.

Q: When Can I Use Fireworks?

A: There are three general time periods fireworks use is allowed:

a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

Q: What are the penalties for violations?
A: Penalties range based upon the number of events to a particular person or address, ranging from $100 through $500.00 per offense, and up to $2500.00 if fire related damage ensues from fireworks use.

Q: We are having a gathering in a city park. Can we shoot off some fireworks then?

A: No. All fireworks use is banned from all South Bend City Parks.

Q: How will police respond?
A: The 4th of July timeframe is generally the busiest time of the year for calls for all types of police service. As such calls are prioritized by call type. Noise complaints, especially for fireworks are considered low priority in dispatching. If an officer is sent to a specific address for a fireworks complaint the officer will generally, and at the officer’s discretion, give a verbal warning for a violation. The SBPD recognizes that fireworks are an inherent part of celebrations for this time of year, and we encourage responsible gathering and use. If a verbal warning is not heeded, then expect a fine to be cited to the reponsible party. This could include the person lighting, or the person/resident “in charge” of the location where the violation is taking place.

Q: I want to call to report this as a problem in my neighborhood.

A: Again, bear in mind the times and dates use is permitted. Also, due to police call volume, we request you first attempt to speak to your neighbors about the violations. Many loud party calls police are sent on, the loud party seemed unaware the neighbors were bothered by it. As a neighbor, please attempt to resolve on your own first without police being called.

If this does not work, then please report to our NON EMERGENCY number, at 235-9361. Fireworks calls are not worthy of 911 phone use, except in case of fire or medical emergency. Please try to be as specific as possible when reporting an address: “in front of 1110 South Michigan” rather than a general location “over by Sample and Michigan on the corner”. A contact numbr or your location is preferred as well so the officer may speak with you further about the concern.
Play it safe and enjoy the professional shows!

Q: What is considered “fireworks”?

A: See the ordinance below.

Q: What is the whole ordinance?
A: As follows:

Sec. 13-59. Fireworks regulation.(a) Consumer fireworks may be used within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend only under the provisions of this section.
(1) For purposes of this section, the term “consumer firework” means: a small firework that is designed primarily to produce visible effects by combustion, and that is required to comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 CFR 1507. The term also includes some small devices designed to produce an audible effect, such as whistling devices, ground devices containing fifty (50) milligrams or less of explosive composition, and aerial devices containing one hundred thirty (130) milligrams or less of explosive composition. Propelling or expelling charges consisting of a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate are not considered as designed to produce an audible effect.

Consumer fireworks include:
1. Aerial devices, which include sky rockets, missile type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners, roman candles, mines, and shells;
2. Ground audible devices, which include firecrackers, salutes, and chasers; and
3. Firework devices containing combinations of the effects described in clauses 1. and 2.; and
b. Do not include the following items:
1. Dipped sticks or wire sparklers. However, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed one hundred (100) grams per item. Devices containing chlorate or perchlorate salts may not exceed five (5) grams in total composition per item.
2. Cylindrical fountains.
3. Cone fountains.
4. Illuminating torches.
5. Wheels.
6. Ground spinners.
7. Flitter sparklers.
8. Snakes or glow worms.
9. Smoke devices.
10. Trick noisemakers, which include:
i. Party poppers.
ii. Booby traps.
iii. Snappers.
iv. Trick matches.
v. Cigarette loads
vi. Auto burglar alarms.

When Can I use Fireworks?

(2) No person may use, ignite or discharge consumer fireworks within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend except during the following times:
a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

(3) No person may use, ignite, or discharge consumer fireworks on any public street or in any public park within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend at any time.

(4) Any person violating this subsection shall be subject to the following penalties:
a. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first offense;
b. Two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for a second;
c. Five hundred dollars ($500.00) for a third offense and every subsequent.
d. Any person issued a citation for violating any provision of section 13-59 shall make payment through the Ordinance Violations Bureau. Failure to make payment within thirty (30) days of the issuance of a citation for violation of any provision of section 13-59 shall result in the assessment of a late fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

e. In such instances where using, igniting or discharging consumer fireworks results in a fire and damage is determined to be caused by negligence or the willful disregard or violation of any of the provisions of this article, a fine equal to the cost expended by the City to send fire suppression personnel and equipment to the location shall be assessed with said fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00).

f. A citation for a violation of section 13-59 shall be issued to the responsible party. A responsible party is defined as the person shown to have exclusive possession of the property (a present possessory interest). If no responsible party is present upon the premises, the responsible party is deemed to be the property owner(s), as determined by reference to the records of the St. Joseph County Assessor. In such an instance, copies of the citation must be mailed to the property owner as determined from the Assessor’s records.

(b) Any person wishing to give a supervised public display of fireworks may do so by first procuring a license from the City and filing bond in the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned on the payment of all damages which may be caused either to a person or property by reason of such licensed display or arising from any acts of the licensee, his agents, employees or subcontractors. The license fee shall be twenty dollars ($20.00) per day for each day of such public display.

(c) Any public display of fireworks shall be conducted in all things in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted and set out by the Fire Marshal of the State, and as the same are restricted or designated by the Acts of the General Assembly of the State. All definitions contained in such acts shall apply to the terms of this section.
(Code 1962, § 26-11; Ord. No. 9769-07, § I, 6-25-07)

Texting While Driving can be a lethal combination January 21, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, Feature Stories, In The News.
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Oprah Winfrey has more media influence on people than many other sources, including police agencies do. This week, Oprah featured a story on the dangers of texting while driving on her show, and encouraged people to give up the use of cell phones while driving as a voluntary pledge.

Nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year because drivers are talking, texting and e-mailing behind the wheel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This is a dangerous trend, especially at greater highway speeds. While cell phone use is not prohibited by Indiana law for the general publicas of yet, legislation has been introduced to ban use of phones while driving as other states have done. In July of 2009, a new law makes it illegal for motorists under age 18 to chat, text, or use a phone to make videos of friends in a car.

Many cities, including South Bend, do restrict this practice to all drivers in certain areas. South Bend ordinance 20-131 bans cell phone use in school zones. Fines range from $75.00 for a first time offense to $250.00 for repeat offenders.

In part, the ordinance states:

Sec. 20-131. Drivers prohibited to use hand-held mobile telephones, mobile communication devices and telecommunication devices while driving in school crossing zone.
(a) A person violates this article if the person uses a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call or uses a mobile communication device or other telecommunication device to send, read, or write a text message, while operating a moving motor vehicle in a school crossing zone:
(1) On an official school day;
(2) During the hours when the school crossing zone is in effect;
(3) When signs are conspicuously posted to indicate the beginning and end of the school zone; or
(4) When signs stating “NO TEXT-MESSAGING OR HAND-HELD CELL PHONE USE IN SCHOOL ZONE” or similar language are conspicuously posted at each entrance to the school zone.
(b) An operator of a motor vehicle who holds a mobile telephone or telecommunications device to or in the immediate proximity of his or her ear while the vehicle is in motion is presumed to be engaging in a call under this article. Immediate proximity is any distance that permits the user of a mobile telephone or telecommunication device to hear telecommunications transmitted over the telephone or device and does not require physical contact with the user’s ear.
(Ord. No. 9946-09, § I, 7-27-09)

In 2008 I did a story with WSBT on the dangers of driving using members of the SPBD Explorer post, with some thanks to the people at Tire Rack. The story and video can be found here. If you missed it before, take a look. The results may surprise you!

Please drive safely!

Quick 3: Ask A Cop.. End of 2009! December 28, 2009

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: My husband is a Master Taser instructor and wants to purchase a C2 personal taser for me to carry for protection. We have recently heard that if you live in the city of South Bend that you cannot carry a personal taser. Is this true?

A: Correct. Possession of Stun Guns or Tasers is prohibited within South Bend City limits by city ordinance 14-36, which prohibits possession or ownership of ANY type of stun gun by any person, form or entity. Possession offense fines start at $250.00 for each offense/possession count, and will also result in permanent confiscation of the stun gun.

Q: How does an attorney obtain a recording of a 911 call and dispatch from police records? Phone number or address to place request.

A: Requests for public records re handled by the City’s Legal Department, which performs legal services for the City. The Department does not provide legal advice to members of the public. To request public records, you must fill out an Access to Public Records Request form. The request will be sent to the Legal Department to determine if the records requested are discloseable. Not all requests can be granted, some information is not discloseable under law. More info at our Records page.

Q: I live outside of the city, however can I report a drug dealer now (my husband), even though it was 15 years ago that he was the supplier to a local housing project there in South Bend?

A: This type of offense would by outside of the Statute of Limitations, therefore no action can be taken about this type of offense given the time lapse involved.

Quick 3: Ask A Cop October 6, 2009

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: If a car was towed and impounded can the tow company keep you from obtaining personal items like purse house keys etc.?

A. In short, yes. When a vehicle is impounded by police, items of value are inventoried and documented, but al;l property in the vehicle at the time of the impound tow will remain in the vehicle and will not be released by the tow company until the impound is paid. Exceptions to this will typically be something needed to get the vehicle out of impund, such as vehicle registration or related paperwork ID cards, etc.

Q: I moved to Indiana from out of state. I recently bought a vehicle and have temporary registration on it for the next 30 days as listed on the temp. plate. My question is: Am I allowed to drive around on temporary tags until I can attain permanent tags, or is the temporary tag only meant to be used for driving to the BMV to acquire permanent tags only?

A. The 30 day expiration on a temporary registration in Indiana plate allows you that time to get proper registration/plates taken care of within that time. You can operate the vehicle freely within that time. By IN law, temporary plates MUST be affixed to the rear of the vehicle were a regular plate would go, and must be “permanently affixes”, and must be illuminated at night. Many auto dealers will tape temporary plates in the back window, however this is an incorrect plate display. You could be stopped and/or ticketed for this, so please be sure it meets those standards.

Q: Does the South Bend Noise Ordinance apply to bars located in a residential neighborhood?

A: The city noise ordinance (13-57) covers in detail noise and prohibited noises. It is listed in detail on the city website. In short, section 2 states:

Using, operating, or permitting to be played, used or operated any radio, television, boombox, stereo, radio receiving set, musical instrument, or other machine or device that produces or reproduces sound in a manner as to unreasonably disturb the peace and quiet of the neighboring inhabitants or any person who in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is operated and who is not a voluntary listener, or which is plainly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located and unreasonably disturbs the peace and quiet of neighbors in residential or noise sensitive areas, including multifamily or single-family dwellings. The operation of such device in a manner prohibited herein between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.

If you feel a violation is taking place you can contact police to address, or you may also contact the city attorney’s office for more information.