Police / Fire

Fourth of July illegal fireworks enforcement

Hollister Police Department embraces FOREalert app to report illegal fireworks, but calling 911 and non-emergency still works as well.

The Hollister Police Department will dedicate officers for illegal fireworks patrol on the evening of July 4.

Illegal fireworks are extremely dangerous and cause serious injuries every year across the United States. According to a police department press release, those persons who are found using or possessing illegal fireworks will be cited. Property owners where illegal firework activity is occurring will also be cited. Local ordinance contains fines up to $1,000 for the first offense.

The Hollister Police Department is again partnering with the app FOREalert. FOREalert is a free smartphone app that streamlines real-time, instant communication to officers working on the fireworks patrol assignment. Citizens can stay completely anonymous since no registration, login, or contact information is required to use the app. The app can be downloaded at the iTunes App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices. Location services must be turned on to use the FOREalert app.

If you see a launch or explosion that you estimate within 100 yards of your location, you can report it using FOREalert's reporting mode. FOREalert uses your device's GPS to access your general location and elevation. Once you report (by touching the fireworks icon) and push send, a message with a general location (about 100-yard radius) of the incident goes to the officers on the fireworks teams.

"FOREalert worked well for Hollister last year," Police Chief David Westrick said. "The app has been upgraded with some of the suggestions we had from last year's experience…We learned a few things operationally and we are committing more resources this year to combat the problem of illegal and dangerous fireworks. We would like people to be able to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, but celebrate in a safe and responsible way."

Locals can also still report illegal fireworks over the phone using 911 for emergencies and (831) 636-4331 for non-emergencies. Persons wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at (800) 87-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

BenitoLink Staff