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On December 31st, 2020, the Mesquite Police Department and the Mesquite Fire Department conducted a special deployment to help combat the unlawful use of fireworks and the discharge of firearms within the City of Mesquite. The deployment was intended to deter citizens from attempting to use fireworks or firearms during the New Year's Holiday and to enforce current laws and ordinances regarding fireworks and the discharge of firearms within a municipality.
Several weeks prior to this deployment, the city mounted a strong social media and community awareness campaign to educate our citizens and provide them with multiple avenues of reporting the unlawful use of fireworks and the discharge of firearms within the City of Mesquite. In conjunction with this campaign, a special phone bank and non-emergency telephone numbers were established. Multiple civilian personnel, including members of our Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association, were on hand to take fireworks specific calls as the city attempted to keep our 9-1-1 lines open for gunfire specific or other emergency calls. In addition to the extra personnel on staff to answer phone calls, a Police Web Reporting Tool was made available for any citizen that wished to make a report via the city's website.
Our community's great citizens were extremely vigilant on New Year's Eve and contacted us in record numbers this year to let us know what was going on in their neighborhoods. During this deployment, the Mesquite Police Department recorded 191 calls for service with 97 calls for fireworks, 92 calls for sounds of gunfire, and two shooting in-progress calls. (It should be noted that our dispatch will err on the side of caution and enter the call as sounds of gunfire if there is any doubt from the citizen whether the sound they hear is fireworks or gunfire.)
Six citations were issued for possession/discharge of fireworks during this deployment and approximately 12 pounds of fireworks were seized. Five guns were also confiscated during this time period.
The Mesquite Police Department and the Mesquite Fire Department committed significant resources to combat the unlawful use of fireworks and the discharge of firearms to keep our community safe during this event. The majority of fireworks/celebratory gunfire violations occur quickly and generally at the same times within the 11:45 P.M.-12:45 P.M. window on New Year's Eve. This leads to a large influx of calls during this time period in which violators pop their fireworks or fire a weapon and go back into their residence before officers can get to the location. On many of these calls, the complainant can see the fireworks, but the exact location cannot be determined, and officers are only given a general area to respond to. These factors in themselves can make it extremely difficult to catch violators "in the act."
While we may not have caught everyone that committed a violation during this year's deployment, the City of Mesquite remains committed to investigating all known offenses within our city and prosecuting all cases that can be proven. If any of our citizens can provide evidence (ex: video) or testimony regarding fireworks/gunfire violations occurring within the City of Mesquite, please provide the information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our non-emergency number at 972-285-6336 so that an investigator may contact you about any evidence that you may have. All cases will be pursued to the fullest extent possible, and we will continue to take every measure to deter these violations in our city.
All of us at the City of Mesquite are incredibly grateful for our community partners and as always, committed to every citizen's safety and security.