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Township Asked To Crack Down On Firework Law Enforcement

Three or four people arrested on firework-related charges each 4th of July in Mahwah, police say

Mahwah law enforcement officials have been asked this year to crack down on illegal fireworks in the township. According to a note sent to the township’s administration and from the State of NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, both vendors and users of fireworks will face harsh penalties this year.

According to the enforcement reminder, “offering for sale, or sale of fireworks, is a crime of the fourth degree, with a maximum fine of $7,500 and/or a jail sentence of up to 18 months. Any individual who possesses or discharges fireworks is guilty of a petty disorderly offense and subject to a maximum fine of $500 and/or a jail sentence of up to 30 days.”

According to Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli, fireworks have not been a huge problem in the township, and most, if not all, of the complaints the MPD receives about fireworks are on July 4 itself, not before or after.

Batelli said the PD gets a similar notice from the state each year. “We put it out to our officers and it acts as a reminder,” he said. “And, it’s a reminder to residents that if you get pulled over with fireworks in your car, it’s a criminal offense.”

The Mahwah PD typically makes “three or four” firework-related arrests each year, Batelli said.

The firework laws in the state are a safety measure, the notice said. In 2011, 12 firework accidents were reported in New Jersey. Over the past three years, no accidents have been reported in Bergen County (see state breakdown below).

See a full list of the state’s fireworks laws here.

According to the state, the following number of firework accidents have been reported by emergency rooms:

COUNTY

2009

2010

2011

Atlantic

0

4

0

Bergen

0

0

0

Burlington

0

0

0

Camden

0

0

2

Cape May

0

0

1

Cumberland

0

0

0

Essex

3

2

1

Gloucester

1

0

1

Hudson

0

0

0

Hunterdon

0

0

0

Mercer

0

0

0

Middlesex

0

0

1

Monmouth

0

0

2

Morris

0

0

1

Ocean

0

1

0

Passaic

0

0

0

Salem

0

0

0

Somerset

0

0

0

Sussex

2

0

0

Union

0

0

3

Warren

1

1

0

TOTALS

7

8

12

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dave dovermann July 03, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Fireworks have started and I haven't seen any enforcement!
Hank July 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
exactly
Malcolm from Mahwah July 04, 2012 at 04:11 AM
The Department of Labor has the time and resources to pester every municipality in the state over something this trivial? If so it might be time to thin their ranks and budget.
Storyspinner July 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM
What's the Department of Labor have to do with law enforcement? Maybe we could get the Center of Disease Control or the Department of Education to get involved? How about the State Department? Or the Department of Energy? They need to keep busy too. Hey. I have a great idea. Send in the Department of Defense. They could send in the Marines and make a beach landing at the Mahwah River? or send the Air Force to really set off some big fireworks with 500 lbs. bombs? The Department of Labor? Are you kidding me? Talk about over reaching.
hsr July 04, 2012 at 11:20 PM
It was from the State of NJ Dept. of Labor not the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

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