Police, fire: It could have been worse

By Michael Zogg, The Triplicate July 08, 2014 12:44 pm
Holiday weekend keeps public safety officials working hard  

Illegal fireworks put on their own display Friday night around Crescent City Harbor and throughout town. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Illegal fireworks put on their own display Friday night around Crescent City Harbor and throughout town. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
As the population of Crescent City swells for the Fourth of July holiday every year, so too does the workload for local law enforcement and firefighting
agencies.

As usual, this year’s celebration kept officers and deputies occupied all weekend long, but Crescent City Police Department and Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office officials agreed that things could have been worse.

Festivities kicked off on Thursday with the deck party and the city was full of people throughout the weekend.

Crescent City Police Chief Doug Plack said scheduled events alone kept police officers busy.

“Just viewing the parade route, both sides of the street were filled with onlookers, and it sounds like the Deck Party on July 3rd was busy as well,” he said.

The Police Department took 64 calls and made 19 arrests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nine of those arrests and 31 calls occurred on July 4. Plack said CCPD had four officers on duty as well as assistance on hand from the Probation Department and Cal Fire. 

Plack said that most of the arrests CCPD made were for disorderly conduct.

“I think the calls for service were high, but they were mostly not that serious,” Plack said.

The Sheriff’s Office reported 19 alcohol-related arrests from July 3–5, Commander Bill Steven said. 

The Sheriff’s Office had an extra person working in the jail and an extra person on dispatch in addition to four extra deputies on patrol to keep up with the increased activity.

The Fourth of July also brings with it the constant worry of fires as loads of illegal fireworks are smuggled into California, primarily from Washington. 

Plack said this year illegal fireworks were again prevalent. Several people were arrested for illegal fireworks and an unknown quantity of fireworks was confiscated and given to Cal Fire, he said.

Amid a drought this year, illegal fireworks were an even greater fire threat, but that threat never materialized. Crescent Fire Protection District Chief Steve Wakefield said that the CFPD only had one call about a fire started by fireworks, a small 5-by-5-foot blaze on E Street. Wakefield estimated that an average of three or four fires get started by fireworks every Independence Day.

“I think that little rain that we had the week before kind of saved us,” Wakefield said. 

While Plack acknowledged that there were still plenty of illegal fireworks shot off over the weekend, he thought the problem was less pronounced than it has been in years past. Dispatch fielded 15 reports of illegal fireworks from Friday to Sunday according to call logs.

“The educational campaign of illegal fireworks is into its fourth year now,” Plack said. “I think people are starting to take heed of how serious fireworks are.”

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