Over the last few weeks, Meadow Lake RCMP are continually being dispatched to complaints of gunshots or “shots fired” in the city. These types of complaints require a priority response from all detachment members only to be confirmed later the sounds being heard are fireworks.
Around 10 p.m. Nov. 2, RCMP were dispatched to a complaint of gunshots on Centre Street and found a group of people were celebrating a cultural event by setting off fireworks. The following day, Nov. 3 around 12 noon, RCMP were called to a priority complaint of four gunshots on the west side of the city. Again, detachment members responded and were able to quickly verify the sounds were fireworks being set off by youth who fled the area on foot. In this specific incident given the location and time of day, had RCMP not been able to verify it was fireworks and not gunshots, a call for schools to be placed on lockdown likely would have occurred. This would have remained in place until police could verify there wasn’t an active threat.
Police say this problem has become far more than a prank and a nuisance in the city and could have serious consequences. In the coming days, RCMP members will be approaching and looking to partner with local vendors that sell fireworks and requesting they implement more stringent requirements for their sales. RCMP will also be providing some educational material that can be provided to anyone that does purchase them. This material will include information on current city bylaws as well as potential criminal consequences.
Any sound mimicking gunshots is terrifying to the public at any hour of the day and RCMP simply ask people use common sense and show respect and not set off fireworks in the city.