Was that gunshots or fireworks?
That’s one question the Indianola Police Department hopes it does not have to ask this week.
IPD is asking citizens not to shoot fireworks within the city limits this New Year’s Eve in an effort to better track down random gunfire that has saturated the city over the past few weeks.
“We really don’t want them shooting fireworks,” IPD Chief Edrick Hall told The E-T this week.
Hall phrases it in the form of a request, but he does have the backing of a long-standing ordinance against discharging fireworks within the city limits.
Dated “the 15th of February A.D. 1956,” the city ordinance prohibits both the sale and shooting of fireworks. It took effect in April of the same year and has never been repealed, although it appears that the county currently has no ordinance against shooting fireworks.
Section II states, “That any person, firm or corporation convicted of a violation of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined an amount not to exceed One Hundred Dollars.”
Hall is one of many officers who have been pulling double shifts recently in an effort to respond more quickly to reports of shots fired in the city.
Progress has been made, but adding a mix of powerful fireworks could bring setbacks to the department’s efforts.
He said he does not want this to be interpreted as a “zero tolerance” enforcement but rather as a way law abiding citizens can help IPD better do their jobs on one of the noisiest nights of the year.
“Some of them, they sound just like guns,” Hall said of fireworks.
In the past, Hall said his department was able to utilize technology to narrow down a one-mile radius of shots fired calls, and his officers would saturate that area in hopes people would holster their weapons.
Recently, however, shots are coming from all over the city, which has rendered the technology less useful when identifying problem areas.
“There’s no set area anymore,” he said. “It’s literally all over the city.”