SHERIFF: OUR HANDS ARE TIED
The Big Timber City Council is reviewing an ordinance that limits Sweet Grass County Sheriff’s deputies ability to handle noise disturbances between July 3 and July 5.
Complaints that came in those nights were nullified by the ordinance, which allows firework aficionados to light them at any time of day.
Ordinance 7-3-5 prohibits the discharge of fireworks anytime outside those dates in July and Dec. 31 without an exception from the mayor. The current ordinance does not set any time restrictions.
Sweet Grass County Sheriff Dan Tronrud brought the issue to the July 5 city council meeting because of a spike in the amount of complaints received this year compared to the previous year.
“Once the city went into that firework timeframe, or days, it eliminated the disorderly conduct for fireworks,” Tronrud said. “You can’t write it. It’s a noise ordinance, and it’s basically deleted the third, fourth or fifth.”
Tronrud suggested a timeframe be put into place that would allow the sheriff’s office to write citations to people popping fireworks in the early hours of the morning. Attendees of the meeting said they heard fireworks popping as late as 4 a.m. and as early as 7 a.m.
Tronrud said all officers could do was drive to the location of the complaint and ask the people lighting the fireworks to stop and respect their neighbors.
“Our hands are tied,” Tronrud said. “I know when people come in and, like Lindsey, basically look at an officer and say, ‘You gotta help me.’ And we go, ‘We can’t. There’s just nothing there.’”
Their inability to help gives off the appearance that officers are ignoring the problem, he said. It also makes the officers feel helpless when they can’t do anything for resident who is asking for assistance.
Pioneer Editor Lindsey Erin Kroskob attended the meeting as a private citizen to voice her concerns about the fireworks.
“I’m here as a severely sleep-deprived human who was unhappy last night and went to the sheriff’s office to talk to Thor and was told that he could do nothing about it,” she said.
Kroskob said she tried talking to her neighbors peacefully before going to the sheriff’s office, but the neighbors were belligerent and not interested in her requests.
Kroskob agreed with Tronrud that implementing a timeframe for fireworks was a good idea to let people know when the loud booms would end.
To read the full story, pick up the July 14 edition of the Pioneer or subscribe to our e-edition. Current subscribers are provided complimentary access to the e-edition with registration.
By Freddy Monares / Pioneer Staff Writer
Big Timber Pioneer file photo
CUTLINE: A firework explodes above Big Timber.