SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– When the Fourth of July weekend rolls around, a good day outdoors can always be capped off by enjoying a display of fireworks.
Officers John Murray and Daniel Zollo of the Syracuse Police Department agree, as long as it is done safely and responsibly.
Murray and Zollo helped to man SPD’s fireworks detail, which was created in 2020 to help make sure neighbors’ complaints and concerns regarding unsafe and illegal fireworks usage was being addressed.
“It’s something on top of just normal patrol right now,” Murray said, “We just go around the city and answer complaints for fireworks that people call in because obviously, it’s a quality of life issue for the city of Syracuse.”
“It’s really people lighting them off so close to houses,” Zollo said, “The houses catch on fire from them, I mean you are taking the fire department out.”
Luckily, Zollo and Murray both have experience, as they have patroled this holiday weekend before.
“It was just a cloud of smoke,” Zollo said, “I thought a building or a house was on fire, Then when I got in I saw 50 firework complaints holding. I drove around you could see people lighting off all the fireworks and running away from them.”
Murray said, “People are shooting fireworks all over the place trying to have a good time but also some individuals are shooting the large industrial fireworks, the commercial fireworks into the street.”
He remembered being surprised his first time out on patrol.
“You know, I’m literally driving through fireworks going off around my patrol car.”
Part of what helps Officers is the anonymous tips they receive. This helps them to understand which areas to keep an eye on.
“We do get some intel about specific areas that are unfortunately problem areas for the fireworks,” Murray said, “We do try and address those as much as we can once we get the information and it’s a credible source.”
Zollo said leading up to the holiday weekend they are already receiving information as to where the problem areas may be and who has and is selling illegal fireworks.
“Throughout the week we were both getting emails,” he said. “They were tips from anonymous people just giving information about who’s got the fireworks, who’s selling the fireworks, those obviously help us dictate where we patrol.”