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Law Enforcement Busy For Fourth Of July Week

While West Texans enjoyed celebrating the Fourth on Wednesday, law enforcement was busy keeping up. Alanna Quillen reports.
MIDLAND -- While West Texans enjoyed celebrating the Fourth on Wednesday, law enforcement was busy keeping up.

"We just had a lot of people that completely disregarded the law," said Gary Painter, Midland County Sheriff.

The Midland County Sheriff's Office responded to 150 calls making 33 arrests. Ector County had almost just as many calls 36 of them being from fireworks complaints alone.

Painter said he was expecting a busy Fourth of July, he had 11 units patrolling the city last night.

"We knew it was gonna happen, so it wasn't a surprise," Painter. "It happens every time they allow fireworks to be popped."

The offenses from Wednesday night stacked up from debris, noise disturbances, and even firing off weapons, a practice that can lead to serious injuries.

"The round is gonna go up and you don't know where it's gonna come down," Painter said. "So, it's kind of a foolish thing to do."

People living in the county say the celebrations went on for a while.

"I know over at my place it was pretty late," Ector County resident Lyndell Sam. "It was about 1:30 or so when they finally stopped."

Gardendale resident Veja Jennings said she thinks the oil boom is giving people more money to spend on things like fireworks.

"You could look out the back, and they were just everywhere," said Jennings. "You could go out front, same thing. Any direction you looked."

Sheriff Painter said over the next few days, they're expecting for people to be shooting off what's left of their fireworks.

If you are shooting off fireworks this week, the rules are simple:

You can't shoot within Midland or Odessa city limits, or within 5,000 feet of it.

Shooting on public streets is not allowed, but you can shoot on private property out in the county with the owner's permission.

There is no curfew but people can still get called on for noise complaints.

"People need to be sensitive to the people around them," Painter said. "Try to have a little respect for their sleeping time."
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