Council OKs legal assessment committee work plan, requests list of options for future fireworks enforcement

Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett discusses fireworks calls Tuesday night.

The Edmonds City Council sped through its short agenda in 40 minutes Tuesday night, approving a work plan for the council’s legal assessment committee that will review the work of the city attorney and city prosecutor, and directing the police chief to come up with a list of possible options for stronger enforcement of the city’s fireworks ban.

The council created the legal assessment committee in August 2023 via an ordinance amending city code related to city attorney and city prosecutor hiring practices and performance reviews. The measure permanently creates a legal assessment committee — consisting of councilmembers — to assess city attorney and city prosecutor’s performance. The councilmembers on the committee in 2024 are Jenna Nand and Michelle Dotsch.

Nand explained that she and Dotsch met monthly and had “robust discussions” while creating the draft workplan. It identifies categories of people that would participate in private, in-person interviews of city attorney and city prosecutor staff. With council approval of the plan, the committee will identify specific names of those who will be part of the interview process, she said.

The resulting assessments would be discussed privately with the respective attorneys. Nand said she anticipated that the committee’s work product would be a two- to three-page memo summarizing results of the interview process. It could also include possible recommendations from the committee.

The council approved the workplan by a vote of 6-0. Councilmember Will Chen abstained after stating that he didn’t have enough information to vote on the matter.

Regarding fireworks, Police Chief Michelle Bennett shared a presentation documenting the number of fireworks and other complaints the department responded to on July 4. Fireworks are banned in Edmonds, and the city council in July 2020 approved a $500 fine for a first-time offense, upgrading it from a $50 fine. Those getting caught a second time — or more — within five years can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.

The department issued two infractions on July 4, an increase of two compared to the same time period in 2023. (Bennett clarified that the statistics she presented were for July 4 only, and so were slightly different that those released to the media last week, which covered a 24-hour period from 6 a.m. July 4 to  6 a.m. July 5.) Police responded to 35 fireworks complaints, a decrease of two compared to the same time in 2023. In addition to issuing two citations, police gave out four warnings. In 17 of the complaints, the parties involved were gone on arrival.

There was one criminal fireworks incident involving a porta-potty at Hickman Park. The reporting parties stated that a group of juveniles threw fireworks into a portable toilet, then fled in two vehicles. The vehicles were not located and the suspects weren’t identified. The estimated cost of the damage was $370.

Overall, the police department responded to 114 calls on July 4, a decrease from 131 calls a year ago.

Councilmembers discussed whether there was more that the police could do to minimize violations of the fireworks law. Ideas discussed included banning the possession of fireworks and citing the property owner for fireworks set off on their property.

The council then voted unanimously to direct Bennett to come up with a menu of possible fireworks enforcement options for future consideration.

Peter Moon thanked the city for installing speed tables to slow traffic on Olympic View Drive.

Finally, during public comments Tuesday night, Olympic View Drive resident Peter Moon expressed his appreciation for the city’s installation of four speed tables on the roadway earlier this year. The tables were installed from 196th Street Southwest to High Street as part of the city’s traffic calming program.

“I want to thank you for listening to our concerns, including the city council, mayor, public works department, city engineering department and in particular Bertrand Haus, your traffic engineer, who has done an outstanding job,” Moon said. “I’m also here to tell you that they work. The speed tables have been very successful in slowing down traffic.”

— By Teresa Wippel





  1. I am very grateful for the work being done to decrease the amount of illegal fireworks being set off in our city. The situation this year was an improvement, as I only noticed the noise of fireworks on July 4th. We live near Westgate Elementary School, and in past years our dog was a nervous wreck for several days before and after the holiday. This year she only cowered under the furniture the night of the Fourth. It would be fabulous if we could eliminate them all together.

  2. Well, Mr. Moon. It is great to hear you are pleased with the four speed tables on your street. The other very few streets in Edmonds are lucky to get one. And since the four were installed on your street not another one has been installed in Edmonds. Couldn’t have anything to do with being a multi-million dollar street? Isn’t it your street that requested their own private Edmonds motorcycle cop? I guess streets along schools and senior housing will have to wait.

  3. OVD residents are the worse offenders for not using vehicle turn signals …. whereever you are operating your vehicle turn signals are law … 100 ft to signal at every turn, every where!

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