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San Benito
April 18, 2024

With help from app, fireworks enforcement pops

With the help of a mobile app, Hollister police and fire reported a huge increase in July 4 fireworks enforcement.

According to Hollister police:

The Hollister Police Department and Hollister Fire Department joined forces to actively patrol for illegal/dangerous fireworks over the July 4 holiday with 28 citations written for various illegal fireworks violations during this operation.

This year, the Hollister Police Department changed reporting procedures from their MYPD app to a new app called FOREalert. This app was designed originally for rapid responses to active shooting situations; however, Chief Westrick, in a meeting with the developers in 2016 asked if it could be slightly changed for reporting fireworks and include instant communication from the public to police officers in the field. The developers said it was possible and made the changes. The developers also agreed to not charge the City of Hollister or its residents for this application this year.

The stats for this year are below:

2016 2017 Change
Calls to dispatch 63 48 -23.8 %
App reports 90 +/- 613 573.6 %
Citations 1 28 2700 %

The Fireworks Operation began at 5 PM with a combined briefing with Hollister police officers, code enforcement officers and fire fighters. The mission of this operation was to enforce illegal/dangerous fireworks laws and local ordinances. It should be noted that both Chief Westrick and Fire Chief Bob Martin Del Campo were actively involved in enforcement activity in this operation. This operation concluded at approximately 11:30 PM.

Chief Westrick said “because we had a solid plan, a great team and valuable/useable technology to assist us, everything worked well. The only issue we had was we did not have enough officers in this operation to take care of the incoming app messages. I did not anticipate that many people would download the app and then use it.” He went on to say “In talking with the FOREalert developers they felt 10-15 messages/reports for the night would be a successful rollout because we are the first police department in the nation to do something like this. I guess they got the bonus plan, because we received over 600. We will analyze the data for frequency of offenses/reports for a geographic location for next year’s operation.

Hollister Police Department asks the public to call the non-emergency line at 636-4331 or 911 for emergencies in relation to any further fireworks incidents or reports.


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