REVELERS WARNED TO OBEY FIREWORKS LAWS THIS SUMMER

REVELERS WARNED TO OBEY FIREWORKS LAWS THIS SUMMER

The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department, the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Service Department and other agencies are gearing up for enforcement of the county’s safe-and-sane fireworks laws as July 4 approaches.

Doña Ana County Fire Marshal Robert Monsivaiz said his officers have been heavily involved in multi-agency talks aimed at creating a coordinated approach to the 2009 fireworks season. Other agencies participating in the planning include the New Mexico State Police, the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority and American Medical Response. Together, he said, they have created plans for a multi-agency, countywide crackdown to enforce Doña Ana County’s fireworks laws once vendor sales get underway on June 20.

Once sales begin, Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department deputies, State Police officers and county fire officials will issue citations related to the possession or use of illegal fireworks. Each citation carries a fine of up to $300 and/or 90 days in jail.

“This will be a no-leniency enforcement effort designed to enhance community safety,” said Monsivaiz. “The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners passed this ordinance and gave us the responsibility to enforce it. With our partners at the New Mexico State Police and at the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department, we’ll be committing resources this year in a way that is unprecedented.”

Officers from all participating agencies will confiscate illegal fireworks and work to identify vendors who are not in compliance with local restrictions.

When July 4 arrives, the community of Chaparral will be heavily patrolled, as will the Santa Teresa area. The Chaparral Volunteer Fire Department will coordinate fire response in that community with assistance from the volunteer fire departments in Doña Ana, Rincon and La Union. The Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority will assist with call priorities.

Monsivaiz said Otero County Sheriff’s Department also will provide law-enforcement assistance on the Otero County side of Chaparral.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.