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July 4: SCV takes ‘educational’ approach, confiscates 50 lbs. fireworks; no arrests, no citations

Capt. Justin Diez of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station speaks about the danger posed by illegal fireworks at a news conference hosted by Fire Station 126 in Valencia on June 29, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to 211 calls about fireworks generated between July 1-5, according to station officials, and 163 calls the evening of July 4. 

Despite the high volume of reports, station officials noted that, in addition to 50 pounds of fireworks being confiscated without incident, there were zero arrests and no citations given by the illegal fireworks task force set up for the holiday. 

For the Fourth of July, SCV Sheriff’s Station officials said they were taking an “educational” approach with respect to fireworks festivities, which, if unpermitted, are illegal in all of Los Angeles County. (Fireworks also are believed to be responsible for at least a handful of fires over the weekend, although the exact number is difficult to determine as the causes are still under investigation for a number of the incidents.) 

The biggest reason for that strategy is a practical one, said Deputy Natalie Arriaga of the SCV Sheriff’s Station, noting the law mandates how deputies must address illegal fireworks usage. 

“In order to cite someone, (deputies) have to physically see the person lighting off the fireworks,” Arriaga said, “and they would arrive either before fireworks are lit or just after the fireworks were lit. So, they take more an educational approach where they’d approach the people, discuss the dangers of the fireworks — and the people voluntarily handed over the fireworks.” 

The SCV Sheriff’s Station utilized a special enforcement team of nine deputies and two sergeants for the evening’s operations — a group that was specifically dedicated to responding to fireworks calls. 

The team also focused on where the station had identified “problem areas” that had a high number of reports of fireworks near specific neighborhoods.  

“So it was a proactive and a reactive approach,” Arriaga said.  

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