ASK A COP — Keep safety first when celebrating New Year fun

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, December 27, 2022

From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso and all of the wonderful dedicated employees of the Port Arthur Police Department: We wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and safe New Year 2023. Although there are NOT widespread numbers of people being infected locally by Covid-19 virus, we’re still encouraging all citizens to adhere to safety protocols because the virus is still alive and active in our community.

I’m continually stressing that ALL motorists who will drive to please drive responsibly. I’m well aware of all of the NEW YEAR celebrations that will be going on within the city of Port Arthur and surrounding communities, as well the state of Texas and the United States. These celebrations normally include alcoholic beverages, so I’m encouraging YOU and others who participate to do so soberly, responsibly and safely. As you plan to engage in alcoholic beverages away from your home, plan a safe way home. Keep in mind Buzzed driving is Drunk driving. If you are arrested and  charged with (DWI) Driving While Intoxicated, it can cost upwards of $15,000. Alcohol is a deceiver, and most people say it won’t happen to them. Let me remind you that more than 89,000 motorists in the state of Texas were arrested and charged with DWI in 2021. So we encourage ALL motorists to take precautions on the roadway during this New Year’s weekend. With that said I need to mention a few reminders as you celebrate the New Year.

Remember that the lighting (popping) of fireworks in the city limit of Port Arthur is ILLEGAL!!! I want to believe that many citizens are NOT aware that igniting fireworks are illegal due to the massive amount of citizens participating in this ILLEGAL activity. Even the mere possession of fireworks in The City of Port Arthur is ILLEGAL. Fireworks displays are a beautiful show when conducted under the hands of skilled pyrotechnic engineers. There’s a great deal of danger of injury, even death associated with the illegal ignition of fireworks. Reports state many of the injuries are burns, and they also include permanent scarring and blindness. The popping is also a noise nuisance to neighbors who are not actively involved with the crime of popping fireworks. Along with that, it’s difficult to distinguish the difference between fireworks and gunshots.

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Speaking of gunshots, the act of shooting a gun in the air in celebration of the New the Year is ILLEGAL and dangerous. Remember, the bullet doesn’t go in the sky and stay there. What goes up must come down! The littering of our city streets from the debris from the used fireworks are unmentionable and embarrassing. Keep in mind ANY law enforcement officer has the authority to confiscate any/all unused fireworks in your possession in the city of Port Arthur. If found guilty in the city of Port Arthur municipal court for the crime of igniting/popping or possession of fireworks, the fine begins at $500. Let’s celebrate soberly and safely, making the 2023 New Year celebration a great time for all.

Robert from Port Arthur asks: Can you share from your experience what do you believe is the most common law broken while operating a motor vehicle?

Answer: The most common violation that is committed by motorists, in my opinion, is SPEEDING. I’m talking about those that are exceeding the maximum posted speed limit. If the speed limit sign is 30 mph, and the motorist travels 31 mph or greater, that’s the most common violator on the roadway. Motorists seem to think the speed limit sign is a suggestion and not the LAW! The speed limit sign is the maximum allowed safe speed for that road. If you exceed that speed, you are NOT driving safely. The speed law is so commonly broken that I won’t generally stop a violator unit they are 10 mph over the posted speed limit. Speeding kills on the roads of Port Arthur, Jefferson County and the State of Texas. Speeding is one of the top causes of traffic crashes that result in injuries and ultimately fatalities in Texas.

Shell from Port Neches asks: I see this huge truck park ad cover 2 1/2 parking spots at Lowe’s, and out of the blue comes a police car. Now I’m sitting back getting ready for the officer to give a ticket to the driver because parking like that was totally wrong. To my surprise, the officer just passed the truck like the parking violation didn’t exist. Is there a reason why the officer passed the truck without addressing the parking violation?

Answer: It’s not my practice to answer for another’s officer’s action, especially when I wasn’t there to witness the incident, but I’m comfortable and pretty certain answering this one. The answer to this is the parking violation you described is NOT a parking violation. I know it seems as though it should be, but in Texas it’s not. A Texas police officer ONLY enforces disabled parking and fire zone violations in Texas. That don’t mean you’re completely “out of the woods” when it comes to taking up extra lanes in a private property lot. The manager of said establishment can call and have the vehicle towed at the owner’s expense. So bad parkers beware!

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man”Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”