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Mesquite, TX – July 10, 2020 – During the Independence Day weekend, the City of Mesquite issued 42 citations for the possession or use of illegal fireworks, seized 120 pounds of illegal fireworks and made two DWI arrests as part of its Celebrate Safely campaign to address fireworks, celebratory gun fire and safe driving.
City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “We still have room for improvement on this effort. But, I am proud of our Police and Fire Department patrols. They aggressively patrolled hot spots and issued citations for the violations they were able to witness. We saw significant increase this year in the number of calls. The surge is the result of limited public fireworks displays, good weather and people seeking the holiday as an excuse to break away from social distancing.” Keheley shared that City staff will consult with the City Council to seek new ways to issue citations to those who use illegal fireworks or shoot guns into the air.
The City had five patrols assigned to areas in Mesquite as a part of a special deployment operation for July 3 and 4. The public was encouraged to contact the City by phone, email or special website tool to report any illegal fireworks and gunfire, and provide the address of the activity. The City received a total of 1,120 calls for fireworks and 31 calls for sounds of gunfire. Last year, the City received a total of 443 calls for fireworks activity.
Keheley indicated that he understands some of the frustration residents had with fireworks activity, but assures the community that the City was out in neighborhoods and responding as quickly as possible to all the calls they were receiving. Keheley said, “Some public perception may be that we were not out there, but the truth is, we had five dedicated teams responding. Plus, we had our regular police patrols responding as well, when it didn’t affect their main responsibilities. We understand this is an important issue to our citizens. Improvements have been made each year to this Celebrate Safely operation and we will do so again this year as we gear up for New Year’s Eve celebrations.”