Undercover police explored for illegal Hawaii fireworks

From the Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — An undercover police unit is among the ideas Hawaii lawmakers are considering to tackle illegal fireworks.

Various bills have been introduced as possible solutions, including one to establish a task force focused on catching illegally imported fireworks and another that would create random shipping container inspections with help from explosive-sniffing dogs, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

“There are a number of issues that are causing the problem, but the primary one is that we have knuckleheads out in our community who know that they can get away with it,” said Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, who introduced a bill which would create a new undercover unit in the Honolulu Police Department.

On New Year’s Eve, Honolulu paramedics responded to 11 fireworks-related injuries, including dismembered fingers.

Some firecrackers are allowed with a permit, and can only be set off between 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 1 a.m. New Year’s Day. But all types of illegal fireworks, including aerials, are common at other times.

“I would say in the last five years or so, ever since the really loud aerials started, we get complaints all the time, year-round,” Keohokalole said. “It really picks up after Halloween, and then there’s just like a general tidal wave of complaints around the holiday time.”