DALLAS — Emergency dispatchers across North Texas were busy answering service calls and complaints related to fireworks over the Independence Day weekend.
Illegal fireworks shows were fun for some people, but a nuisance to many in the City of Dallas.
Since Friday, Dallas 911 received 2,827 fireworks calls. Officers responded to 890 fireworks disturbances. Dallas Fire-Rescue and Dallas police issued 10 tickets and seized nearly 823 pounds of fireworks.
”You’re literally chasing these calls all over the city,” said Mike Mata, the president of the Dallas Police Officers' Association. “And I’m not talking dozens. I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of these calls throughout the weekend.”
Some residents who were popping illegal fireworks left debris in spots across the city. District 7 Park Board member Daniel Wood and Councilman Adam Bazaldua were among volunteers who spent time cleaning up the trash from local parks.
In a Facebook post, Bazaldua called the illegal fireworks “disheartening.”
The same law enforcement challenges come with policing street racing, according to Mata.
The car shows and meet-ups are becoming a growing trend. Fireworks being hurled at the cars and into the intersection brought a different dynamic and thrill for spectators over the weekend.
”They’re going crazy here at Greenville and Lovers,” Gordon Aikman said as he recorded cars blocking traffic and performing stunts at an intersection in North Dallas.
"Just all these guys doing donuts," Aikman said. "Throwing fireworks out their cars and doing donuts.”
The drivers and fireworks left before police arrived.
”It’s very difficult to do proactive policing, right now, in today’s environment, with our manpower problems,” Mata said.
Dallas police data shows 911 received 75 calls for racing and issued 128 citations over the holiday weekend.
However, when it comes to enforcement, Mata said the police officers’ hands are somewhat tied.
"We can’t get into a car chase with them. They block the roads, so we can’t even get cars through there," Mata said.