It’s that time of the year again, fireworks stands are open and local residents take to social media to ask “fireworks or gun shots?”. Most area police departments are sharing the tried and true graphics about how fireworks are illegal in their city and what the fines will be.
Below those graphics and post are comments from resident grumbling about the lack of enforcement and throwing their ‘inconsiderate neighbors’ under the proverbial bus. Until tonight, when the Midlothian Police Department decided to be the bus driver, and share this humorous warning that this year they ain’t playing games and citations will be flying.
“OK, a few words from MPD about Fireworks… Sure, there’s Panthers vs. Jaguars, MJ vs. LeBron, Coke vs. Pepsi, and of course Ginger vs. Mary Ann*… But this time of year, nothing divides this community quite like Fireworks.
Fireworks are prohibited by Ordinance in the City of Midlothian. It is a Class C Misdemeanor to possess or discharge fireworks in town and it is also illegal for any parent or guardian to allow their child to pop fireworks. While most residents adhere to this law, there is a segment of our community that LOVES their fireworks and will pop them in spite of the Ordinance. We anticipate that we will field dozens – if not hundreds – of reports of fireworks over the next week. Every year, we are so inundated with fireworks calls that it strains our resources to the point that we are often unable to respond in a timely enough manner to take enforcement action. This year we are trying a different approach.
For those of you in the “ANTI-firework” camp, we hear you. We understand the potential devastating effects fireworks could have on your property and we know that many of your dear pets are disturbed by the nuisance. And we appreciate your adherence to the law. This year we will be adding extra officers on the evenings of July 1st – 4th to enhance our patrol shifts and hopefully allow us to have a quicker response to reports of fireworks. These officers will be directed to issue citations and/or seize contraband when found in their presence.
Please know that the additional officers in the field will be working hard to answer all of the calls we receive as quickly as possible. That said, while we will respond to EVERY call, we will not make it to every incident in time to observe the violations, which is required for us to cite the offender. We will do our best, but we simply will not get to every report in time to catch them all in the act.
Now for those of you on the “PRO-firework” side. We get it. Fireworks are fun. But they are illegal and it’s just not smart to pop them in this dry of an environment. We typically don’t take a lot of enforcement action due to the timing of the calls, but that will change this year. The officers will be directed to issue citations and seize fireworks when legally acceptable for them to do for any violations observed on July 1-4. Now, because of the high volume of fireworks calls we will have in the community, many of you – actually most of you – aren’t gonna get caught. But some of you WILL be. And I doubt “Everyone else was doing it!” will be an affirmative defense to the citation.
Yes, we are aware that in spite of the ordinance, there is a LEGAL Fireworks stand operating inside the City limits. We will not be monitoring that location for possession violations.
If you would like to report a violation, please call us at 972.775.3333 so 911 lines stay open for emergency police or fire calls.
At the end of the day, we want EVERYONE to have a happy, fun, and most importantly SAFE Independence Day Weekend. Come out and join us at the Parade Saturday morning and at the City’s sanctioned Fireworks Show on Sunday evening.
*By the way, the correct answers are: Jordan, Mary Ann, Dr. Pepper is actually better than either Coke or Pepsi, and it’s a tie between the Jags and Panthers. Have a Happy 4th!”
For more information on whether fireworks are allowed in your city, see our article “are fireworks legal in my city?”