City issues statement after family locked in Coeur d'Alene cemet - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

City issues statement after family locked in Coeur d'Alene cemetery on the Fourth of July

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Over the weekend a Coeur d'Alene family reached out to KHQ to tell us they had been locked into a local cemetery while visiting a grave on the Fourth of July. KHQ's Liz Burch talked with the family Wednesday, meanwhile Sam Taylor, Deputy City Administrator for the City of Coeur d'Alene, issued the following statement about what happened:

We deeply regret that this incident occurred and want to make sure the community understands the details.

Every year, the City locks up tennis courts on Independence Day in order to prevent people from launching fireworks from them. The courts can be damaged by launching incendiary devices off of them. We also lock the cemeteries during Halloween, as they can become frequent haunts for people who might damage areas of this sensitive property.

This year, a Parks worker thought it would be appropriate to also lock the two City-owned cemeteries (Forest and Riverview) in order to prevent fireworks from being launched in the cemetery. This was fully intended to help prevent damage to this sensitive property, too.

Parks workers spoke with the family to notify them it was going to be closed, and they declined to leave the cemetery. Their vehicles were parked outside of the grounds, and so the worker locked up the fence with a chain, but locked it at the very last link so that they could get through the opening on foot. A lead parks worker came by after the locking, too, to further discuss the issue with the family.

Parks Director Bill Greenwood received a phone message from the family and he has contacted them back. He left a message and has not heard anything, but we did hear they contacted the local news.

We absolutely regret this incident and the Parks & Recreation Department has determined that they will no longer close and lock the cemetery on the Fourth of July. Our intent was fully and absolutely to protect this sacred ground from fireworks damage, and we understand the family's concerns.

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