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Off-Duty Police Officers, Firefighters In Unmarked Vehicles Will Patrol Fireworks Safety

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The Wichita Fire Department says it will hire off-duty police officers and firefighters to enforce city fireworks safety for the Fourth of July holiday.

Fire Chief Tammy Snow said Thursday they expect to have 22 unmarked patrol cars throughout the city.

The fire department will pay for the additional help through a new city ordinance that requires fireworks distributors to purchase a $1,500 sales permit.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said officers are committed to issuing tickets for any violations made within the city. Under the new regulation, tickets have dropped to $250.

“In the past, we have had those as high as $2,500,” Longwell says. “I know firemen that have worked for the city for 30 years and have not written a $2,500 ticket. I’m not sure I would write a $2,500 ticket.”

Residents are permitted to shoot fireworks from 10 a.m. to midnight June 27 through July 5. Fireworks with sparks higher than six feet are still prohibited.

Longwell said as a general rule, fireworks bought in the city can be shot in the city.

Evan Pflugradt is an intern with KMUW's News Lab. Follow him on Twitter @EvPflu.