Opinion

MPD will enforce fireworks laws

by Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux
Marysville Police Dept.

With the close of another very successful Strawberry Festival week, the Marysville Police Department is preparing for the next hot topic on its agenda; the Fourth of July and fireworks.
With Independence Day two weeks away we are already beginning to hear the bangs associated with fireworks being discharged in the Marysville area. Last year during this time your police department received nearly 300 fireworks complaints.
Now, theres a change in the way Marysville officers will be enforcing fireworks-related violations. In the past violators of fireworks ordinances were issued a criminal citation and given a date to appear in court. Ultimately, the end result was a black mark on an individuals criminal record.
With the input of concerned citizens and collaborative efforts of city staff, the Marysville City Council voted to amend the ordinance in May of this year. The most significant piece to the newly amended ordinance is the change from violators being charged with a criminal offense to now being issued a civil infraction; similar to being issued a ticket for a traffic violation. The fine for fireworks violations can be up to $500 per incident.
At first blush it might appear by changing from a criminal offense to a civil infraction, the city is taking a softer stance on fireworks-related violations. This is far from the case. By making this change police officers are now able to more efficiently enforce fireworks laws. Criminal offenses take significantly more time to process than simply writing out a ticket. In a nutshell, officers will be able to respond to and enforce more violations during a shift as a result of not being tied up with additional paperwork.
The clear message here is tickets WILL be issued to those individuals who choose to discharge fireworks outside of the allowable date/time limits.
A friendly reminder to all of the Marysville residents who will be discharging fireworks this year; July 4th between the hours of
9 a.m. and 11 p.m., is the only time that one can legally do so.
Another concern we face this time each year is the readily available illegal fireworks sold outside of the city of Marysville and brought into the city to be discharged. Possession of illegal fireworks remains a criminal offense; meaning an individual may be arrested and jailed, and will likely result in a criminal record. The penalty for these type violations, depending on the quantity of illegal fireworks in ones possession can be a fine up to $5,000 and jail time of up to one year.
Our goal is not to put a damper on the family festivities and neighborhood gatherings that will be taking place during the holiday, but rather our enforcement actions are conducted with the goal in mind of protecting the people of the community and their property. In addition, police officers must consider the rights of the community members who voice their concerns about fireworks in their neighborhoods by calling for a police response.
The Marysville Police Department is hoping everyone has a great Fourth of July holiday weekend. We are simply asking the citizens of Marysville to use fireworks responsibly, within the law, and to be respectful of their neighbors. We want everyone to have a safe and sane holiday.

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