Fifty-two calls an hour.
Fourth of July weekend is the busiest day of the year for the Huntington Beach Police Department. This year, busy was defined as officers responding to 52 calls an hour.
“That is a significant demand on our services,”said Police Chief Robert Handy. “I’m really proud of the job they all did, as well as the rest of the city departments.”
A little more than 4,300 calls for service came in from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Officers responded to 3,754 of those calls, Handy said.
Police responded to 96 party calls and 33 traffic collisions over the course of the weekend.
Officers also arrested 88 people for various violations including drunken driving, disorderly conduct, burglary, vandalism and drug offenses.
The department’s emergency line and fireworks hotline were inundated with hundreds of reports of fireworks being set off in neighborhoods.
“We saw this as a transition year from them being allowed the last two years,”Handy said. “The fireworks were certainly a problem. There were more going off than there should have been.”
Safe and Sane fireworks were again banned in Huntington Beach this year after the
sunset of a two-year trial program that allowed state-approved fireworks.
Fire Chief Patrick McIntosh said he believed there was some confusion in the community over whether these fireworks were allowed.
“There were, in fact, some areas where there wasn’t much change, but there were some areas that were significantly quieter,”he said. “We’re going to continue the education programs, continue the outreach.”
Public safety officials collected more than 100 pounds of illegal fireworks and handed out 30 citations.
“We learned a lot and I think we did a very good job, in many respects,”Handy said.
“We’re looking for ways to enhance our education next year.”
Handy and McIntosh are preparing a more detailed report of the incidents, challenges and successes the police and fire departments faced over the holiday weekend, which will be presented to the City Council at a future meeting.