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ASK A COP — Fireworks use, possession restricted in Port Arthur

From the desk of Police Chief Tim Duriso: On behalf of my entire department we would like to wish everyone a SAFE & Happy 4th of July celebration this coming Saturday.

Just because we will celebrate the 4th, don’t forget or let down your guards to physical and social distancing. Normally we are in a very celebratory mode in this country but we are in a very trying time as we battle with the pandemic COVID-19.

We are encouraging motorists to be responsible, drive sober or find a designated driver. Our Police Officers will be out in force looking for impaired drivers during this 4th of July holiday weekend.

Also, keep in mind in Jefferson County, we are currently under a mandatory mask requirement in ALL businesses.

Lastly I’d like to speak to you about the ignition of fireworks within the city limits of Port Arthur. The ignition or popping of fireworks are is in the city of Port Arthur, even the mere possession of fireworks in the city of Port Arthur, is prohibited.

Remember fireworks sound very similar to guns being shot, so please let’s adhere to the law and keep fireworks and the ignition of fireworks out of Port Arthur.

Inexperienced pyrotechnics normally bring about 13,000 injured people annually to the emergency room needing care from misuse of fireworks, and the 4th of July holiday accounts for two-thirds of those injuries.

We strive hard to beautify our community, and those who ignite fireworks leave behind a mess of debris. Let’s strive to make this holiday one to remember, not from a tragedy but by spreading joy and happiness.

If you are found guilty for the ignition or possession (remaining fireworks will be confiscated) of fireworks in the municipal court of the city of Port Arthur, the fine starts at $500. Be safe and enjoy!

Kurt from Port Arthur asks: I’m a man who likes to sip on adult beverages. I’m proud to say I don’t overdo my indulgence, but my choice of drink is now watermelon Ciroc. That’s a specialty drink and if I meet at a friend’s place I have to bring my own bottle! Now my question is, can I legally ride with an open bottle of alcohol in my vehicle if I’m not intoxicated?

Answer: You are inquiring about Texas Penal Code 49.031 “Open Container law.” Kurt, sounds like you bring your bottle of alcohol beverage with you when you visit a friend’s house, now if the bottle is already opened you MUST transport the bottle in the truck, glove box or behind the last seating area of the vehicle. You cannot store the alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. I’m glad to hear you know your legal limit and use your STOP button when it comes to alcohol beverages and operating a motor vehicle on the roadway because so many motorists don’t have a functioning STOP button.

Dean from Jasper asks: I liked your information about the red and blue handicap parking placards. I’ve always seen the two but had no idea why the different colors. My Grandpa passed away a couple months ago, and he had a blue placard that he just threw on the dashboard of his truck, and that’s where it remains even today. Is this legal? What should we do with his placard?

Answer: So sorry to hear your Grandpa passed, but there’s one thing for certain in life, and that’s death! This is something many people encounter, a loved one passing away who was issued a disabled parking placard by the state of Texas. First off, one thing you definitely don’t do is continue using the placard. Any family member that has experienced the passing of a loved one who has a placard should return the placard to their respective county tax office. Do not continue to use the placard because you can receive a violation if found guilty for using a placard that wasn’t issued to you. This is punishable by fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, and between 10 and 50 hours of community service.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m.  You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in your question live at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!