The Hollister Police Department, along with Hollister Fire and Code Enforcement, will be out in force watching for illegal/dangerous firework activity on the evening of July 4.

Because Independence Day falls on a weekday and after the Hollister motorcycle rally, HPD will able to dedicate officers for the first time for illegal fireworks patrol. The police department will be joining forces with fire department and code enforcement. Those persons who are found using or possessing illegal fireworks will be cited, police said in a press release. Property owners where illegal firework activity is occurring will also be cited. The local ordinance contain fines up $1,000 for a first offense.

Additionally, Hollister Police Department is pleased to announce its partnership with FOREalert, a free smartphone app that streamlines real-time, instant communication to our 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, which can be downloaded at the iTunes App store for IOS 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 FOREalerts reporting mode. FOREalert uses your device’s GPS chip to access your general location and elevation. Once you report (by touching the fireworks icon or loud music icon) and push send, a message with a general location (about 100 yards radius) of the incident goes to the fireworks team.

The Android version of the FOREalert is still in development. This use of FOREalert will be a test of the application and system. Interested citizens are encouraged to download this free app and use it if needed to report fireworks on July 4.

It should be noted that Hollister Police Department’s MYPD App will no longer be used for fireworks reporting.

Chief of Police, David Westrick said, “This free app from FOREalert will enable more efficient fireworks reports. I encourage each of you to download the app. This app will be used in a trial basis over the Fourth of July holiday to report illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks are a continual problem and have led to fires and many injuries over the years.”

You can also still report illegal fireworks over your phone using 911 for emergencies and 636-4331 for non-emergencies.