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FIREWORKS BURN ’EM FOR $18,000+

Manteca residents Illegal fireworks proving costly to at least 24 Manteca residents

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FIREWORKS BURN ’EM FOR $18,000+

This map pinpoints locations were 248 submittals of ‘Nail ‘Em’ app complaints were made in Manteca.

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POSTED July 12, 2017 1:17 a.m.

At least 24 Manteca residents who defied the law and shot off illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July and the four days leading up to it are each being slapped with $750 fines.
That, however, won’t be the end of the burn in their pocketbook. The city will use the full extent of the law to retrieve costs that center on using administrative citations and processing them through the administrative law process. That could easily add between $100 and $200 per citation.
Two Manteca Police officers who worked overtime the evenings of June 30 through July 4 along with firefighters that weren’t tied up on calls were able to issue 24 administrative citations for illegal fireworks as well as make two arrests for possession of illegal fireworks.
Last year police during the first year of the so-called “social host ordinance” being in place that only required pinpointing property where illegal fireworks are discharged compared to the previous requirement that officers actually witnessing a person lighting illegal fireworks, officers were able to issue three citations using the “Nail ‘Em” app. It helped this year having additional officers on overtime given calls shoot up dramatically on and before the Fourth of July involving issues in addition to fireworks calls.
The “Nail ‘Em” app was created by legal manufacturers of fireworks and is downloaded on app sites. It is designed to document the illegal use of fireworks effectively if users employ all aspects of the app including the global positioning system, a time stamp, and video.
The firms created the app to help address complaints about illegal fireworks that was tarnishing the image of Safe and Sane fireworks.
There were 248 submittals using the “Nail ‘Em” app this year compared to 145 last year.
Of those 248, five have the promise of leading to additional lawbreakers being fined because the parties submitting them not only provided all the information needed to prosecute but they tentatively indicated they were willing to sign an affidavit.
Without the person submitting the complete data via the app being willing to essentially testify to what they saw, Manteca can’t legally go after the parties that are documented.
“We followed up on most of the app submittals, but by time we go there (often there were no illegal fireworks being launched),” noted Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd.
Shipherd noted the aerial photo on the front page that pinpoints locations where one or more complaints were sent via the app regarding illegal fireworks being launched, does not necessarily represent were the most illegal fireworks were discharged.
“The most illegal fireworks could have been in south Manteca,” the fire chief said. “The map is where people were using the app.”
Illegal fireworks are those that move or get airborne.
Since Safe and Sane Fireworks legally went on sale seven days before the Fourth of July, Manteca had to comply with a state law that allows the discharging of those legal fireworks at any time during those seven days. That didn’t preclude making a noise complaint which, however, would be difficult to prove without a citizen using the app and willing to make a citizen’s complaint.
The City Council responded to a public outcry after the 2015 Independence Day holiday weekend when residents complained illegal fireworks use had jumped significantly from the previous year. It was similar to problems faced in nearby communities.
After dealing with several years of the escalating use of illegal fireworks and being unable to stem their widespread use, the city opted to take aim at the pocketbooks of offenders. They did so by adopting an ordinance that puts the responsibility on who is living on property where illegal fireworks are discharged — renters or owner occupied — and employs an administrative law remedy instead of the criminal courts.
Prior to 2016, Manteca was lucky if it was able to prosecute one case a year that met the legal requirement in place at the time that officers had to witness the specific person who was actually launching the illegal fireworks.
This year Manteca will have 24 times the people punished — at $750 plus. Each additional time a person is documented using illegal fireworks — an hour later or repeatedly over the course of multiple days — a $1,000 fine is added for each occurrence.

 

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