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Lathrop plans crackdown on fireworks
Around New Year's Eve

Cold weather apparently doesn’t dissuade people from wanting to be outside lighting off fireworks.

But the City of Lathrop is encouraging anybody considering such an activity to find something else to do instead.

In its December newsletter to residents, the city posted a reminder that only safe and sane fireworks are legal under the city’s ordinance, and that the use of them is only permitted during the week leading up to the Fourth of July. Any fireworks used either before or after the allotted period of time, including on or around New Year’s Eve – legal or otherwise – is a violation of the city’s municipal code and grounds for a citation.

And both Lathrop Police Services and the Lathrop Manteca Fire District have said that they will be actively seeking people who are violating the ordinance.

Those that are caught violating the city’s ordinance – which will now be prosecuted by the City Attorney as a way to ensure that enforcement remains a priority – will face a misdemeanor citation and fines of up to $250 for the first infraction. Subsequent infractions will lead to even stiffer penalties, and Lathrop’s recently-implemented “host” ordinance that allows police officers and firefighters to cite property owners where illegal fireworks are being used even if they can’t prove who lit them only bolsters the ability for the city to prosecute those that violate the law.

In the newsletter the city noted that Lathrop Police Services will step up active patrols and enforcement during the week leading up to New Year’s Eve, and Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely has said in the past that he would have to look at possibly increasing staffing as well to curb what has been an extensive issue in the community that has remained a nuisance despite the stiffer penalties for breaking the law.

The illegal firework use was so bad during the Fourth of July holiday that specialized patrols of police officers and firefighters were out in force attempting to locate where the illegal aerial fireworks were being fired from.

While the city’s move to allow the City Attorney to prosecute fireworks citations came as a result of the District Attorney’s office not prosecuting as many fireworks cases as were being turned over, the office has since put a renewed focus on stamping out illegal fireworks use, going so far as to dedicate a specific prosecutor to fireworks cases to send the message to the public that such activity will not be tolerated.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.