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Police report: Fireworks didn’t carry as much of a bang

From the perspective of an Auburn police sergeant who had a front-line view of the flashes, bangs and kabooms! of July 4, the 2013 fireworks season appeared to be noticeably lighter than it has been.

Such was Auburn Police Sgt. David Colglazier's summation after presenting the department's post July 4 report, "2013 Fireworks After Action," recently to members of the Municipal Services Committee.

"Other than from the 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. wheelhouse, it seemed like it was lighter, but there is that four- or five-hour period where it really gets crazy. ... Obviously, there were still a lot of fireworks going on out there, but this year was noticeably lighter," Colglazier said.

A judgment, Colglazier added, shared by residents and fellow officers in the days since July 4.

As expected, the hot spots were Lea Hill and the discharge area next to the fireworks stands on the Muckleshoot Reservation.

According to the report, the 2013 approach was similar to 2012's — emphasize cooperation with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to soften the impact of fireworks on the city.

The department decided to take officers off the tribal discharge area — where it's legal to discharge fireworks — and get them out into the neighborhoods where residents could see them.

Beginning on June 24, the department began its emphasis patrols, about five days later than it did in 2012. Each year police move those emphasis patrols closer to July 4.

"But it's kind of a feel thing," Colglazier said. "This year it didn't feel like the calls were coming in early on in sufficient numbers to warrant putting somebody out there.

According to the report, the City assigned 22 officers to fireworks emphasis on the night of July 4.

"We worked real well with the tribal councilman up there and he communicated well with us and hooked us up to the fire commissioner on site in the discharge area," Colglazier said.

People may set off fireworks in the discharge area until 2 a.m. on the night of July 4, but Auburn police officers approached the tribe at midnight when a lot of the stands were already closing down and there was general agreement about shutting things down. By 1 a.m. the stands area was vacant. There were no major incidents in the discharge area.

According to the report, police:

• Logged 166 fireworks calls, 124 by residents, 42 on view by officer, between 11 a.m. July 4 and 8 a.m., July 5.

• Confiscated 14,000 individual, illegal fireworks

• Arrested 12 people for fireworks violations.

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