June 20 — We will be celebrating our nation’s independence in just a few short weeks and the people in Chambersburg will be able to watch the fireworks at Memorial Park, but cannot set off any of their own.
Chambersburg Borough Council made the decision to prohibit consumer fireworks within borough limits at a meeting in April.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “It’s going to be hard to enforce this. More and more municipalities are doing this by the way, but we all know the scenarios. It’s 11 o’clock and you just hear all these things launching from someone’s backyard. Police will be called all over the place. But in many cases, it’s going to be hard to prove who actually did it. Where did it actually come from? It’ll be interesting to see what happens in two weeks in Chambersburg.
I’m sure the police force will have all hands on deck that night knowing that they’re going to get flooded with these calls.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “What about cameras and the ring cameras? How admissible will that be? Is that something that they can go back to after a couple of days? Does it have to be done that night?”
Barkdoll said, “They could. So if it’s my ring camera, and this is happening at a neighbor’s house, I can voluntarily turn that footage over to the police and they could use that as part of their arrest and prosecution. Depending on what kind of camera you have, oftentimes they’re backed up for at least a day, but in some cases they can capture footage and they save it up to even a week or even 30 days. Police of course routinely use those neighborhood surveillance cameras to build their case. So that, unlike maybe even a few years ago, when this was happening, that’s a very different world today. So on July 4, if you’re out launching fireworks in your yard, odds are pretty good that there’s going to be a neighbor that has a camera somewhere that’s going to pick up that action.”
Ryan said, “That is a new layer. You know one minute, you’re thinking haha I got away with it. The police drove by and they didn’t catch me. And then a couple of days later, ah, not so fast here. Very interesting. I wonder if they’ll go to that extreme here. The chief has said no crime too small. So it’ll be interesting to see if that’s something that they would pursue. You have enough footage and you could see enough people. You think that that holds up?”
Barkdoll said, “I think so. They need to strictly enforce this from square one in year one, the idea being it will be a deterrent effect going forward because on the other hand, if everyone’s just getting away with this and no one gets prosecuted, citizens may start to think well hey, this is just an ordinance on paper. It’s never going to be enforced. We’re going to just keep getting away with it.”