JAMESTOWN – A Jamestown City Councilman says the illegal lighting of fireworks remains a problem in the city.
City Councilman At-Large Jeff Russell (R) addressed the Council about his concerns during a Work Session meeting at City Hall Monday evening. Russell says that he plans on discussing a potential fine increase for those charged with illegally lighting off firecrackers with Corporate Counsel Elliott Raimondo, Police Chief Tim Jackson and other stakeholders.
The former Jamestown Police officer explains that recent changes to New York State’s Criminal Procedure Law eliminated potential deterrents for those who contemplate the discharge of fireworks.
“I don’t know what the fine structure is now, but it obviously isn’t a deterrent,” Russell said. “Prior to the New York State Bail Reform, if there was a habitual problem, police could engage in a custodial arrest. Bring someone to jail, and make them post bail, which was a deterrent. That deterrent is now gone. An appearance ticket is issued, but that doesn’t seem to be doing much to help the problem.”
“We have citizens here that suffer from PTSD,” Russell added, noting that the PTSD for those citizens come from different areas of trauma.
The Council would need to approve an increase in fines as a change in the Jamestown City Charter would be required.
The possession and use of fireworks is illegal in New York State. Section 270.00 of the New York State Penal Law (Unlawfully Dealing with Fireworks and Dangerous Fireworks) covers the offenses and potential charges that range from a violation up to a class A Misdemeanor.