Midlothian Police Department find sense of humor with fireworks warning

It’s that time of year again, the fireworks stands are open and local residents are taking to social media asking “fireworks or gunshots?”. Most area police departments share the proven charts on how illegal fireworks are in their city and what the fines will be.

Beneath these graphics and posts are comments from residents complaining about 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 won’t be playing games and quotes will be flying.

“OK, a few words from MPD about Fireworks… Sure it’s Panthers vs Jaguars, MJ vs LeBron, Coke vs Pepsi, and of course Ginger vs Mary Ann… But at this time of year, nothing divides this community. like fireworks.

Fireworks are prohibited by ordinance in the town 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 set off fireworks. While most residents adhere to this law, there is a segment of our community that LOVES their fireworks and will pop them despite the ordinance. We anticipate that we will receive dozens, if not hundreds, of fireworks reports over the next week. Each year we are so inundated with fireworks calls that it drains our resources to the point that we are often unable to respond quickly enough to take enforcement action. This year we are trying a different approach.

For those of you in the “ANTI-fireworks” 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 bothered by the nuisance. And we appreciate your respect for the law. This year we will be adding additional officers on the evenings of July 1-4 to improve our patrol shifts and hopefully allow us to have a faster response to reports of fireworks. These officers will be responsible for issuing citations and/or seizing contraband items when found in their presence.

Please know that the additional agents on the ground will work hard to answer all the calls we receive as quickly as possible. That said, while we will respond to EVERY call, we will not get to every incident in time to see violations, which is necessary for us to cite the offender. We’ll do our best, but we just won’t get to every report in time to catch them all in the act.

Now for those of you on the “PRO-fireworks” side. We understood. Fireworks are fun. But they’re illegal and it’s just not smart to pop them in this dry environment. We don’t usually take a lot of enforcement action due to the timing of calls, but that’s going to change this year. Officers will be asked to issue citations and seize fireworks when legally acceptable to them for any violations seen July 1-4. Now, due to the high volume of fireworks calls we’ll be having in the community, many of you – in fact most of you – won’t get caught. But some of you WILL be. And I doubt that “everyone did it!” will be an affirmative defense to the quote.

Yes, we are aware that despite the ordinance, there is a LEGAL fireworks display inside the city limits. We will not monitor this location for possession violations.

If you would like to report a violation, please call us at 972.775.3333 to keep 911 lines open for police or fire emergency calls.

At the end of the day, we want EVERYONE to have a happy, fun, and above all SAFE Independence Day weekend. Come join us at the parade on Saturday morning and the city-sanctioned fireworks show on Sunday evening.

*By the way, the correct answers are: Jordan, Mary Ann, Dr. Pepper is actually better than Coke or Pepsi, and it’s tied between the Jags and the Panthers. Have a happy 4th!”

For more information on allowing fireworks in your city, see our article “Are fireworks legal in my city?”