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Police Ready To Crack Down On Law-Breaking New Year's Celebrants

Fireworks in the sky.
If you're going to celebrate the New Year, don't set off illegal fireworks or shoot guns into the air -- police are cracking down on those activities.

Shooting guns into the air and setting off fireworks are illegal and many local police departments will be on the lookout for those activities. Many departments will also be out in force to catch drunk drivers.

Police departments across North Texas will again crack down on New Year’s celebrants who fire guns, light fireworks or drive drunk. Dallas police say these kinds of crimes rise this time of year and they’re out to stop them.

Dallas Deputy Chief Rick Watson said there were 166 calls about illegal fireworks last year and 539 calls about gunfire.

“If we manage to arrest anyone for that gun offense, it is a class “A” misdemeanor, punishable of up to 1 year in jail and it’s a fine of $4,000 or both," Watson said. "This individual could also be charged with deadly conduct.”

Watson said jail time for that offense is 2 to 10 years.

Dallas Fire Marshal Christopher Martinez warns launching illegal ­fireworks is dangerous.

“It could be anything from injuries pertaining to hands … face,” Martinez said. “These injuries could range from minor burns to serious second-degree burns, but other accidents have occurred more severe than that. In addition, you have the potential for accidental fires.”

Mesquite municipal court judge Detra Hill, takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to this year’s crackdowns by welcoming violators to her courtroom for a “celebration.”

“All you have to do to get your invite,” said Hill in a Mesquite video online, “is to shoot a gun into the air or decide to possess or use fireworks in Mesquite. It’s that simple. The party will be fun for everyone. There’ll be citations and penalties for every attendee, and we will have plenty of court costs and maybe the loss of your driver’s license. My special guest may get a surprise of some jail time.”

Dallas police are already enforcing their no refusal policy. That means if a possibly drunk driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, police will get an immediate warrant to test the driver’s blood.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.