Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office Says Extra Patrols and Bomb Experts Will Be Out in Full Force

Salinas Police Seize 1,800 Pounds of Illegal Fireworks
File photo of illegal fireworks in Salinas

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office will deploy bomb technicians and San Jose police will have extra officers on patrol to
crackdown on illegal fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend starting today, agency officials said.

The sheriff’s office plans to send out eight deputies today for Independence Day and over the weekend to unincorporated areas mainly to avoid fires in current dry conditions, sheriff’s Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.

The eight employees on patrol will include two sergeants and six deputies, four of whom are trained bomb technicians trained to handle explosives who will enforce the law but also talk with people about fireworks, he said.

“We’ve always taken (illegal fireworks use) seriously,” Stenderup said. “The difference is the fire danger this year.”

Those caught shooting off their own pyrotechnics or possessing them could face arrest on suspicion of a misdemeanor, receive a citation or be allowed off with a warning depending, for instance, on the amount of negligence by the violator, Stenderup said.

Deputies will be paying close attention to the foothills east of San Jose, the unincorporated Alum Rock area and Mount Hamilton due to the risk of vegetation fires sparked by illegal fireworks, Stenderup said.

County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said that she and people in her District 2 in East San Jose will welcome the patrols.

“Residents are angry about the proliferation of illegal fireworks throughout their neighborhoods and the dangers to health and property they pose,” Chavez said.

In San Jose, the Police Department will be using additional officers today to perform high-visibility patrols for enforcement of city laws against fireworks, police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said.

It is a misdemeanor crime to light or possess fireworks anywhere in San Jose and violators can be arrested, serve jail time or be fined up to $1,000, Morales said.

Legal public fireworks displays in San Jose today include ones at Discover Meadows at San Carlos Street and Woz Way, Almaden Lake Park at Almaden Expressway and Coleman Avenue and San Jose Municipal Stadium at Senter and Alma Avenue, according to police.

Alcohol use is also prohibited at all the public fireworks events today and police will enforce laws against violators, Morales said.

The San Jose Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention will also send out five, two-person car teams today from about 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., according to fire officials.

The teams are to drive through specific districts in the city to be visible and contact people in the community when they see fireworks, fire officials said.

(Copyright 2014, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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