ROXBURY, NJ – As it’s done in the past, the Roxbury Police Department today reached out on social media in an attempt to dissuade residents from using illegal fireworks in July 4 celebrations.
In a Facebook post, the department took an empathetic approach – acknowledging law-abiding citizens have been known to light off a firecracker now and then.
“We understand, many people think fireworks are harmless and fun and we are a bunch of jerks trying to ruin your parties,” the police conceded. “We totally get where you are coming from. We realize you are just trying to have innocent fun, but there are unintentional complications that sometimes arise with fireworks.”
Evoking the Golden Rule
The police then took a stab at a “put yourself in their shoes” approach, citing several examples of stress to others that loud fireworks can cause.
They suggested fireworks users might take a minute - before lighting their fuses - and realize that “there are brand new parents down the street who have been trying to get their newborn to sleep for the past hour, it’s late, they’re exhausted and frustrated.”
They also said there could be a neighbor “who works the night shift and is trying to get in a couple of hours of sleep before they head to work.”
And the police spelled out a truly tragic scenario, one involving an older couple that “just adopted a dog and had him outside running around a yard with their newly installed invisible fence. They didn’t know the neighbors would be setting off fireworks and couldn’t get him in the house in time. He was so scared he ran right through the invisible fence and was hit by a car down the road.”
On the police department’s list of potential Independence Day victims are veterans who saw battle, such as Roxbury’s Bob Mederos. Many have trouble dealing with sounds that replicate gunfire and bombs.
“There are men and woman who spent their lives defending this country for your freedom,” the police noted. “The sound fireworks could possibly trigger unwanted stressors for them.”
For good measure, the police mentioned professional football player Jason Pierre Paul. It didn’t explain why, coyly wring “Doesn’t need an explanation.” But here’s one anyway: Paul lost his right index finger in 2015 due to a fireworks accident.
Cops Really Don’t Enjoy This Holiday
The police noted that most fireworks are illegal. But they said they really don’t want to make arrests. “We don’t want to be the ones ruining your celebration, so please don’t put us in that situation,” said the post. “We don’t enjoy it. Seriously, we don’t enjoy it.”
And it’s not just the arrests the police don’t enjoy, they said. “We also don’t enjoy getting yelled at on the phone about how we are not doing anything about the fireworks at 123 Main Street,” said the post.
It went on to suggest that, while officers are chasing fireworks complaints, they might be called to a real emergency.
“We left 123 Main Street and while we were administering CPR, you called three more times to let us know they were firing them off again,” wrote the police. “Please understand, it’s not that we don’t care, but sometimes we are just late to the party and busy with other calls. Trust us, the addresses are on our radar and we will be riding around in the area. Just give us some time.”
In the final paragraph of the long post, the department issued a call for neighborliness and civility.
“All we are really asking is that you be respectful of each other,” they wrote. “Talk to your neighbors, get to know each other, invite them over, just try and be a courteous and think about those around you.”
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