Law enforcement officers attended more Fourth of July gatherings this weekend than in the past, but they weren’t there to celebrate.
Fireworks complaints more than doubled this year, say Frankfort Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
“We were swamped,” said Frankfort Police Maj. Fred Deaton.
His units responded to more than twice the number of calls concerning fireworks complaints as last year, he said.
Between Friday and Monday, they received 107 fireworks complaints, compared to only 38 during last year’s holiday weekend.
These included everything from fireworks being used too close to structures and people to noise complaints.
Deaton says they even received a call from a fireworks retailer in Eastwood Shopping Center, stating that someone was using fireworks too close to the tent.
The sheriff’s department experienced the same increase, Sheriff Pat Melton said.
They responded to 62 fireworks calls between June 1 and July 6 this year compared to only six at the same time last year.
Residents have been annoyed by the noise and worried about their safety, yet both Franklin County and Frankfort fire chiefs said they did not see an increase in damage.
“We did not have any significant fire calls as a result of fireworks, and we were very thankful for that,” Frankfort Fire Chief Wallace Possich said.
Law enforcement took the brunt.
Deaton said the city had more officers on duty because an increase in calls was anticipated, but it was still difficult to keep up.
An officer had to attend to each of the calls but could not take any action unless the crime was committed in their presence.
“They were running from call to call,” Deaton said. “They were very, very, very busy.”
Deaton says he can’t know for sure whether the new fireworks laws, allowing previously illegal firecrackers, Roman candles and bottle rockets to be sold and used in Kentucky, were the cause of the increase in calls.
However, he says it’s a reasonable possibility since the increase was so substantial.