Chiefs: Fireworks calls about priorities, volume

Will be answered but other calls may come first


Volume is a word with double meaning when it comes to answering fireworks calls, some police chiefs say.

First there are the loud noises generated by some of them.

Then there are the large number, or volume, of calls, that come in for officers on the road to handle.

And to top that off, other calls, such as fights or domestics or robberies, will be answered before a fireworks call, although an officer will go to the scene at some point, even if they are backed up on calls, said Youngstown police Chief Rod Foley and his counterpart in Boardman, Jack Nichols.

“It’s not always the highest priority but if we’re called out we’ll deal with it,” Foley said.

Foley said last year officers also seized a large number of illegal fireworks. He said he’s more concerned about loud parties that take place over the holiday that generate a lot of noise and traffic that tend to disrupt neighborhoods. Officers will respond to a fireworks call, but depending on other calls, they may not be there until well after the fireworks have stopped.

Nichols said during a typical Fourth the township’s dispatch center is swamped with fireworks calls. He said officers have to witness the fireworks being used in order to cite someone because it is a misdemeanor.

“It [offense] has to be committed in our presence,” Nichols said.

Sometimes people are given a warning but if police come back and see fireworks shot toward a house or used improperly, then a citation will be issued, Nichols said.

Nichols said it is hard to answer all the fireworks in a timely manner because there are so many of them, and other calls will take priority over a fireworks call.

Read more in Thursday’s Vindicator.

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