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The City cannot impose fines greater than $1,000, even for repeat offenders, per the State of California. The monetary limit is regulated and limited to $1,000 for any person who possess less than 25 pounds of fireworks.
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The use of illegal fireworks is considered a misdemeanor in the State of California. As such, violators cannot be cited unless the officers physically witness the violation or there is a citizen willing to sign an attestation form. Residents who witness violations may file an attestation form, which is similar to a private person's arrest, by calling 909-628-1234 and specifically stating they wish to file the complaint via attestation.
Beginning the week prior to the 4th of July holiday, the Police Department dedicates specific enforcement cars that respond to fireworks complaint calls and actively look for those violating the Chino municipal code prohibitions against the use of illegal fireworks. The Police Department also robustly staffs on the actual 4th of July holiday to more effectively respond to the increased call volume due to fireworks. On average, we deploy more than 50 personnel on July 4th. In addition to increased enforcement efforts by our patrol staff, the Special Enforcement Team conducts numerous undercover operations beginning in early June to seize illegal fireworks from those attempting to sell them in our area.
We do use Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) on the 4th of July to support ground units, but the line of sight limitations imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) make the widespread use of UAS for patrol purposes, including routine fireworks patrols, impractical.
The City has a long tradition of allowing safe and sane fireworks. Chino residents enjoy spending time as a family and partaking in traditional activities of 4th of July celebrations. This means family gatherings, barbecues, pool parties, and ending the day with fireworks.
The City also has a long tradition of allowing the sale of safe and sane fireworks as a fundraiser for many of the City's non-profit organizations. For most, this is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. These organizations must adhere to strict guidelines to be allowed to sell fireworks and must show the funds raised are returned to the Chino community.
Residents can assist the Police Department by serving as our eyes and ears. If you see illegal fireworks being ignited, please call the Police Department and provide as much detail as possible about the offender.
A Chino police officer can issue a citation based on a private person arrest (PPA) through attestation if provided the following: evidence to support the claim (photos/video of violation) and the willingness of the witness to appear before the hearing officer to give his/her account of the facts. Residents who wish to report violations may call 909-628-1234. Please be prepared to give an address of the violation and a detailed description of the person, if possible.
Violations that occur in the county area can be reported to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office (SBSO) Chino Hills station at 909-364-2000. However, if the fireworks are being ignited in the City of Chino, please call Chino Police Department at 909-628-1234.
Illegal fireworks are a problem for all cities in the region, even those that do not allow safe and sane fireworks. It is not unique to Chino.