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  • Fireworks, my neighbor and the local PD

    I have a question for my brother/sister LEOs...

    (For the purposes of this topic let's assume fireworks are illegal in your state)

    You're a working the 4PM to Mid shift July 3rd. Shortly after it gets dark you observe fireworks going off in the sky in a residential neighborhood. They are not the professional grade fireworks but they are much more elaborate than your typical bottle rockets. You notice they're coming from a cul de sac and decide to check it out. As you make your way down the street you notice several families sitting on blankets and chairs watching the display far from where they were being lit by an adult.

    No one has called to complain. What would you do?

    This happened tonight to my neighbor. It's become a tradition in the neighborhood for the past six years or so. Virtually the whole street turns out and the children love it. The display started off great- everybody was cheering until I see the familiar CV slowly roll down the street.

    A gray haired Sergeant pulls up to my neighbor and calmly but firmly states he could be arrested. My neighbor was super respectful but explained the PD had never had a problem in the past. I approached the Sergeant but did not say anything right away. He was just doing his job even if I did think it was ridiculous. To make a long story short he confiscated an unlit row of fireworks that were secured to a small platform. He was actually quite personable so I eventually started to make small talk. I discreetly ID'd myself and asked him if someone had called to complain but he replied "no, I was just in the neighborhood and noticed them". He added "the only people who would have called are all out here watching them".

    Another younger Sergeant pulled up (where were all the Patrolmen? ) a short time later. He did not say two words and looked like he did want to be there. The older Sergeant said he was sorry to ruin everyone's night as he left. He was very pleasent in his tone of voice and demeanor but he was intent on shutting him down.

    What would have you guys done if you were that Sergeant or were me? No neighbors dropped my name or even looked over to give me a "help us out glance". I just went over on my own to see if I could nudge his discretion...needless to say I failed.

    It was also tough explaining to my kids how fireworks were illegal because our family looked forward to and enjoyed them every year. My five year old asked " Dada how come you didn't arrest (neighbor) then"?
    Last edited by BrickCop; 07-03-2005, 10:04 PM.
    Disclaimer: The writer does not represent any organization, employer, entity or other individual. The first amendment protected views/commentary/opinions/satire expressed are those only of the writer. In the case of a sarcastic, facetious, nonsensical, stirring-the-pot, controversial or devil's advocate-type post, the views expressed may not even reflect those of the writer.

  • #2
    I never understood people having there own displays when just about every community has professional shows. That being said I don't have an issue with his actions. What should he have done, wave and tell everyone to enjoy their illegal fireworks? Just because everyone's having fun doesn't make the purchase and use of an illegal item acceptable. I know, I'm a party pooper.
    The People's Republic of Massachusetts

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    • #3
      No problem Cat I accept that.

      Personally I would not have gone out of my way trying to track people down for lighting fireworks on the 4th.
      Disclaimer: The writer does not represent any organization, employer, entity or other individual. The first amendment protected views/commentary/opinions/satire expressed are those only of the writer. In the case of a sarcastic, facetious, nonsensical, stirring-the-pot, controversial or devil's advocate-type post, the views expressed may not even reflect those of the writer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BrickCop
        No problem Cat I accept that.

        Personally I would not have gone out of my way trying to track people down for lighting fireworks on the 4th.
        I don't usually go out of my way either but if stumble across it I do something because, well, I'm expected to. No worries about me now though, I'll be administration for while starting this week.
        Last edited by Catman; 07-04-2005, 08:25 PM.
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        • #5
          I wouldn't have bothered someone w/fireworks if there was no complaint. In fact, I probably would've steered clear from where ever they were coming from and rationed that they were in the county! However, with a complaint, "rules is rules." I would've agreed w/the Sgt.

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          • #6
            nothing to see here
            Last edited by olnacl; 05-18-2006, 02:52 PM.

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            • #7
              You should have told your neighbor to ask for a property receipt for the seized items. Then call the Chief the next day to make sure that EVERY piece was turned into the evidence room. One good party-poop deserves another.

              I personally don't bother people with fireworks, unless I get a specific complaint about them, and it's an unreasonable hour. Even then, I won't confiscate them from sober adults unless I have to go there a second time, after I warned them once already.
              Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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              • #8
                Hey Im just happy if it actually IS fireworks and not incoming rounds
                We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
                For he today that sheds his blood with me
                Shall be my brother - Henry V


                "Why didn't you put that out on the radio?"
                "I don't know, I guess I got caught up in the moment Sarge"
                "The MOMENT is when we F--king need you!" - K-9 Sgt Myhre to unidentified Officer


                I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol

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                • #9
                  What would have happened if the sergeant drove off & left the illegal fireworks then there was some sort of malfunction injuring people? I see some potential issues there. Just because you break the law for a number of years & dont get called on it doesnt suddenly make it legal. When I used to work the 4th, I would just lay low & try to avoid any major BS. I just let people have their fun & tried to stay out of the way. Now I always take a weeks vacation on each side of the 4th.

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                  • #10
                    We ONLY deal with the fireworks on a complaint basis. Even then we warn first, and try to be decent about it. If an additional complaint is recieved (not anonymous, and actual complainant) we may confiscate and issue a citation.

                    IMO, what the Sgt. did is crap.
                    "I only had a couple!"

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                    • #11
                      delta thats a poor choice. If I just destroy the fireworks (we give them to city fire) no charge enjoy the rest of your holiday. If you want a property sheet no prob. Sign here, and here is your promise to appear in court.

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                      • #12
                        I agree, Toad.

                        I don't know what state your in, but our state although fireworks are illegal, we don't have the luxury of a law that simply says "fireworks are illegal". We have a code section that gives like a 2 page list of explosive chemical compounds. Unless I was a fire marshal and/or had formal training on what is and is not in fireworks, I wouldn't even bother. The local grocery stores even sell fireworks now, well certain kinds. It's just a mess.

                        If you're state has a similiar statute, I'd politely ask the sergeant which law it was you were in violation of (so you can better enforce it in the future).

                        Otherwise, I would have just done what ya did. I hate when people give me the "Well we've been doing it for years" rap. Like I'm going to say "Oh, well, it's okay then."
                        You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

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                        • #13
                          I dunno, if it were me, I would've turned the other way instead of going to check it out. No reason to rain on anyone's parade.

                          However, I think the Sgt. handled it the best anyone could have. He was polite and professional and apologetic about it and took no real enforcement action.

                          Around here, most departments will only put fireworks complaints in as 'beat info' around the 4th. This means no one gets dispatched but they are rather a handle if you want to/have time type of thing.
                          Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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                          • #14
                            Somebody Has Not Been Doing Job

                            Illegal is Illegal and the fact it was ignored and somebody could have been hurt or killed in the past or soembodys house or car burnt means some leo or fire chief has not been doing their job.
                            Doubt the Good Neighbor that has been funding and setting off the show has liability insurance to cover any damages or injury.

                            Please note should you get hurt watching a ILLEGAL fireworks dispaly you're health insurance has every right to refuse to pay. Your homeowners & and or car insirance will go after the guy responsible and quite possibly your car isnurance may refuse to pay if you parked near a fireworks display you knew to be illegal.

                            NOTE : We never would have enough people to run from call to call on fireworks. The ones that get answered are injury and they are sometimes very serious.
                            Last edited by Bodie; 07-04-2005, 06:46 AM.

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                            • #15
                              You can be hurt or killed watching legal fireworks too bodie.

                              I personally would've stayed away from the area unless a complaint was received. By not contacting and leaving, I wouldn't be "granting permission" to use fireworks, and the folks in the neighborhood could still have an enjoyable night. Everyone's happy.
                              Still leading the team in PIMs, the fans are calling me a goon.
                              --------------------
                              This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a... car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.

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