Police on patrol for illegal fireworks July 4

Residents can report fireworks with FOREalert smartphone app

Hollister Police will dedicate extra police to patrol for illegal fireworks on the evening of July 4, and promise that anyone caught igniting illegal fireworks will be cited for the violation.

“Illegal fireworks are extremely dangerous and cause serious injuries every year across the U.S.,” reads a July 28 press release from the Hollister Police Department. Officers will not only cite those found using or possessing illegal fireworks. They will also cite property owners where illegal fireworks activity is taking place.

The local ordinance allows the city to fine violators up to $1,000 for their first offense.

The police department also announced it is again partnering with the mobile application FOREalert.

FOREalert is a free smartphone app that streamlines real-time, instant communication to Hollister’s officers working on the fireworks patrol assignment, the press release describes. Citizens can stay 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.

Anyone who sees a launch or explosion, estimated within 100 yards of their location you can report it using FOREalert’s reporting mode, police said. FOREalert uses your device’s GPS chip to access your general location and elevation. Once you report (by touching the fireworks icon) and push “send,” a message with a general location (within 100 yards) of the incident goes to the officers on the fireworks teams.

“FOREalert worked well for Hollister last year,” Hollister 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.”

Residents can still report illegal fireworks by calling 911 for emergencies or (831) 636-4331 for non-emergencies. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-87-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

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