The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department was bombarded with calls about illegal fireworks on Fourth of July.
In total, deputies responded to 116 calls concerning illegal fireworks on Tuesday, 80 of which occurred between 7 p.m. and midnight, according to spokesperson Shirley Miller.
“If we have 80 locations, you can imagine how many people are calling just about one of those,” Shirley Miller said. “It was very busy for the dispatch center last night.”
The sheriff’s department issued eight citations for illegal fireworks, only one of which was a repeat offender. Citations are $500 for a first offense and $1,000 thereafter.
By the time deputies arrive on scene to a call for fireworks, it is often difficult to locate where exactly they are coming from and which person set them off, Miller said.
“We would have liked to issue more citations,” Miller said.
The department also put together a “fireworks suppression team” comprised of six deputies and a sergeant who were tasked with handling illegal fireworks calls all night.
In addition to patrolling the streets and neighborhoods, the department provided security at the fireworks show at the Westfield Mall. After the show concluded, 10 of the deputies doing security were reallocated to respond to calls about illegal fireworks.
SCV’s Sherriff’s Department was at full deployment on July 4, utilizing every employee and resource they had, according to Miller.
With Santa Clarita’s large population, patrolling on holidays presents an even greater challenge, she said. The department has been looking for ways to best deploy deputies and educate the public about illegal fireworks, Miller said.
Additionally, there is an added challenge in handling calls from and about people who are under the influence of alcohol, according to Miller.
Though phones were ringing constantly, Miller said she was not aware of any issues of people calling about emergency situations who did not receive help because they could not get their call through.
It is always a concern and priority to keep the 911 line open, Miller said.
Also, Miller said she was not aware of any injuries caused by fireworks.
Miller said she knew of two brush fires that were spurred by fireworks, one in Valencia and one in Canyon Country, but both were extinguished quickly.