Eastpointe, Roseville police have zero tolerance for fireworks until Labor Day

Residents upset about continued fireworks after the Fourth

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 13, 2018

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Both Eastpointe and Roseville have had residents who have made complaints about fireworks continuing to be used after the July 4 holiday. 

Eastpointe Police Deputy Chief Eric Keiser stated in an email to C & G Newspapers July 11 that the department received 16 complaints about fireworks and eight noise complaints that were associated with fireworks July 3-6. 

“We responded to one injury caused by fireworks on July 4. In that case, a person received minor burns when debris from a firework landed on him. The firework was launched by the victim’s neighbor. The person who launched the firework was cited for reckless use of fireworks. The fireworks were legal,” stated Keiser. 

Most fireworks violations are civil infractions and have to be witnessed by a police officer, stated Keiser. A civil infraction carries a fine of up to $500. A misdemeanor violation carries a fine up to $500 and or 90 days in jail. There is no jail time for civil infractions, Keiser said. 

“It is difficult for police to enforce the ordinances, because it is difficult to locate people who launch fireworks illegally and/or catch them doing it,” he stated. 

According to Keiser, consumer fireworks are legal “the day before, the day of, and the day after federal holidays” between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight, and 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. However, minors are prohibited from purchasing or using consumer fireworks. 

“Fireworks cannot be used by people who are intoxicated. Fireworks cannot be used on public property, school property or church property (unless the user has permission). State law generally prohibits local cities from enacting ordinances that are more restrictive than the state law regarding fireworks,” stated Keiser. 

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said July 12 that Roseville has had “more complaints than he can count” and that there is a zero tolerance policy for fireworks in Roseville until Labor Day. This year, the city hasn’t had major injuries. 

“We’ve had nothing too bad; we’ve had minor injuries. It’s not as bad as years past,” he said. 

Berlin said that in Roseville, if caught, a person would be fined up to $500 and face up to 90 days in jail. 

Berlin said the department is planning to up patrol units for the next holiday, but it is difficult because they have to see the person or persons in the act to give them a ticket. 

“We have to catch them in the act. If one of our officers catches anyone lighting fireworks, they will be given a ticket and their fireworks will be seized,” he said. 

Due to the hot weather and no rain, Eastpointe put a burn ban in place and Roseville issued a burn advisory July 13. For more information, see the “Eastpointe Police Department (Official Site)”  Facebook page, roseville-mi.gov or government access TV channel 12.

With the ground and trees being dry, any spark that lands and is not completely extinguished could cause a fire, Berlin said. 

“That’s not only for fireworks, but outdoor fire pits as well,” he said. 

Berlin said he doesn’t believe people have an issue with fireworks; they have an issue with constant fireworks.

“It is a constant complaint every year. Every night people are lighting these things off, and it becomes a concern after a while,” he said.

Roseville resident Sue Fiehn reached out to C & G Newspapers July 9 through email and stated that residents in both Roseville and Eastpointe are “fed up with the fireworks” and “stronger law enforcement needs to be in place.” 

“The other night an older woman who lives next door to me came running over knocking on my door because she thought someone was breaking in her home, she was terrified, it was the fireworks that rattled her door and windows, and we had to call a family member to pick her up. Even my dog and many others in the area are terrified. Needless to say, there is no sleeping for anyone,” stated Fiehn. 

Fiehn said she reached out to both Keiser and Berlin about the continued fireworks, and they responded back to her.

“I was very satisfied with both police chiefs of Roseville and Eastpointe’s responses. Deputy Chief Eric Keiser of Eastpointe and James P. Berlin, chief of police, city of Roseville both agreed, and there is zero tolerance in violation of the law,” she stated July 12. 

Fiehn stated that July 9-12, the fireworks started and ended quickly, which made her believe police were patrolling the area.

“But it is a real shame that the police have to look for fireworks violations when there are other things and crimes to pursue. The police do a great job in our area and should be recognized for their outstanding service, but fireworks should not be one of them. It is ridiculous,” she stated. 

“I think the best way to enforce the law is community involvement, such as articles in your paper, and if you see or hear a violation, call that dispatch number. People just don’t know what to do, so they do nothing,” she added. 

Fiehn said that she will continue to pursue this through state representatives. 

Joseph Szczepanski emailed C & G Newspapers July 9 about the fireworks. He said that fireworks had continued the past few days leading up to his email and that they were shot off from 10 p.m. to as late as 3 a.m.

“I was hoping something can be done about the fireworks. It is very hard to sleep, plus it is keeping my neighbors up as well,” stated Szczepanski. 

He took his complaints to the Governor’s Office and received a response from John Byrd, of the Constituent Services Division for Gov. Rick Snyder’s office. 

“As a result of the input we have received from citizens like you, legislation was signed into law in 2013 providing local governments with more options to decide when they will permit residents to use these fireworks. This common sense legislation, which also received wide, bipartisan support in the legislature, respects the preferences of local communities by allowing local authorities to decide when fireworks can and cannot be used and gives local governments the option to determine what works best for their individual communities,” stated Byrd. 

“Prior to this new legislation, the law allowed a local unit of government to pass an ordinance regulating the use of consumer fireworks on most days in the year. However, it did not allow a local unit of government to pass an ordinance regulating the use of consumer fireworks on the day before, the day of, or the day after a national holiday,” he added. 

Residents in Eastpointe and Roseville can call police dispatch at (586) 777-6700 if they see or hear fireworks.