Poll: Are You Happy With the Change in Michigan's Fireworks Law?
The Lake Orion Police Department has received a variety of complaints about fireworks over the past few weeks.
Bang. Boom. Fizzle. Flash.
Fireworks have been soaring into the skies of Lake Orion for weeks now—and the Fourth of July is still two weeks away.
Why are fireworks cropping up everywhere? Fireworks are now legal for people 18-years-old and older to purchase (and sell) in Michigan. Not all fireworks—but commercial fireworks including low-impact fireworks such as roman candles, fountains, bottle rockets and more. Professionals only can purchase large, explosive fireworks.
Though some people may be enjoying the free firework displays, others are not. Lake Orion Police Department has been getting numerous complaints about fireworks in the area and many Lake Orion Facebook pages are swarming with residents commenting about the disturbances the incessant flashes and booms are causing. Many of the posts refer to children and pets having a hard time sleeping and settling down due to the displays.
“The most important thing is we don’t want people hurt; as far as I know we have not had injury reports yet,” Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh said.
Village ordinances do allow officers to ticket people shooting off fireworks in some circumstances. Narsh said that they have considered looking into a local ordinance to have further control over the use of fireworks.
Narsh also noted that people need to be careful where they are shooting the fireworks from and where they are aiming at. If the debris from the fireworks is affecting another person's property based on the angle they are shot at, the shooter could be ticketed. People also need to ensure they are not shooting fireworks from public property, such as sidewalks, streets and schools, unless they have a permit to do so.
Narsh noted that complaints would be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the time, day, property and location the fireworks were being shot at.
"We have to keep bouncing back to the premise — fireworks are legal, they usually make a noise, they're usually most enjoyed at night — when we add that up the police are limited in our response in our ability to satisfy everyone," Narsh said.
Similarly, Lt. Dan Toth of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Orion Township Substation noted at a recent board of trustees meeting that firework complaints were coming in and township ordinances, such as its noise ordinance, could be applied to the situation.
On national holidays, along with the days before and after the holidays, Narsh said that their hands are tied and unless the fireworks being shot off are illegal, there is very little officers can do to stop them. He did say that aside from holidays and special occasions, he expects the fireworks craze to die down after the summer months and initial exciting phase of people exercising their new right. However, he did say that like anything else, people will need to get used to the displays, now that the state law has changed.
"The answer isn't calling the police," he said. "It's contacting your state legislation."
"If all of a sudden train was built near your neighborhood, it would take awhile to get used to the sound of the train rolling through — that’s what this is," Narsh continued. "There’s going to have to be an adjustment by all parties because they’re here to stay."