Summer is upon us and the Dunkirk Police Department has a few safety tips that could make your summer a safe and happy one.
Use and possession of illegal fireworks in New York State is a Misdemeanor Crime. Recent changes in New York State Law does allow the sale and possession of Sparkler Devices. Sparkler Devices are defined as devices that are ground based or hand held devices that produce a shower of sparks, smoke whistling and other audible noise. Devices that rise into the air, fire projectiles in the air and explode are illegal in New York State. The use of illegal fireworks can cause fire and personal safety hazards. They can cause serious injuries especially to children. Even though Sparklers are legal during the July Holiday we urge parents to supervise their children with the use of sparklers as they can still cause injury if not used properly. New laws enacted in recent years now carry more severe punishment for the possession, furnishing and sale of dangerous fireworks. Selling furnishing or exposing for sale any dangerous fireworks to persons under the age of 18 can now be punishable by a Felony which can carry a sentence in excess of one year in jail. Anyone arrested for just possessing fireworks can be punished by up to a year in jail. Police in neighboring States also pay close attention to New York residents who purchase fireworks and intend to transport them into New York. Anyone who possesses fireworks can turn them into the Dunkirk Police Department without worry of being charged. We have issued a zero tolerance order on arrests related to possession and use of dangerous fireworks. Section 270.00 of NYS Penal Law covers illegal Fireworks.
Our call volume related to Fireworks Complaints has increased tenfold in the last week. We will be putting plans into place to address this issue and we will be placing the proper Penal Law Charges for Use and Possession as well as City Noise Ordinance violations.
With the limitations of activities due to Covid-19 there will not be a July 4th Fireworks Celebration this year.
We have also seen a very large increase in the number of calls related to vehicles with loud music and mufflers. There will be strict enforcement of the City Noise Ordinance related to these violations and we will be enforcing them around the clock. These type of violations along with the Fireworks complaints disrupt the Quality of Life in our Community, we will be sending the message that this behavior is unacceptable. Noise Ordinance Fines increase with each subsequent violation ranging from $250.00 to $750.00 and possible 15 days in Jail.
Those who will be enjoying the City’s Parks and Beaches are also reminded to obey all of the rules regarding alcohol consumption, no glass containers allowed in any City Park areas, noise, dog restrictions/cleaning up after them and parking regulations. Please keep all dogs on a leash and a safe distance from other people. We remind everyone about bicycle safety rules, all bicycles must follow the rules as if they were operating a motor vehicle, helmets are required for bicyclist under the age of 14. For pedestrians that walk in the roadway, you must walk single file facing traffic and you can’t obstruct traffic.
There is NO PARKING on the grass areas of our City Parks. We will be enforcing these violations with Parking Tickets.
We will have increased Patrols for speeding violations around the Waterfront and Park areas during the summer as well. Please slow down and follow the posted speed limits.
As we re-open for business and as always if you have celebrated too much and can’t safely and responsibly operate your vehicle please don’t. Have a designated driver, find a designated driver, walk or take a taxi. Real friends won’t let someone they love get behind the wheel and operate a vehicle when they know it can’t be done safely. Avoid confronting aggressive drivers and report any unsafe operation to the Police. Please remember to wear a seatbelt and make sure that children are properly secured in a child safety seat, it’s a proven fact that seatbelts and child safety seats save lives. Talking on a cell phone while driving and especially texting while driving can have tragic results.
As area events begin to start up please pay attention throughout the summer for large crowds along the waterfront areas, City Parks, during festivals, music on the Pier and on weekends. Please slow down and watch for pedestrian traffic. It is our goal for the summer season to be a very safe and happy time for everyone. We all need to be responsible and courteous and have respect for others by following the rules.
We will have extra Patrols in service to watch for Noise, Fireworks and other violations, especially during festivals and events. Please call 911 for emergencies or our Communications Desk at 366-2266 for any needs or assistance.
We wish all our area residents and visitors a happy and safe summer season.
Chief David Ortolano
City of Dunkirk Police Department