BROCKTON - In his 22 years on the force, Brockton Police Sergeant Edward Cruickshank has seen what illegal fireworks can do.
"On the B side of the building we found that somebody had thrown fireworks up on the roof that caused over $100,000 worth of damage," Cruickshank said, pointing out of the right side of his car.
Now, Cruickshank is in a role leading a joint fireworks task force in the city. He says the task force was developed in 2021 after the use of illegal fireworks surged in 2020.
"We go out and just try to talk to people, educate them on fireworks in Massachusetts are illegal. There are fines," Cruickshank said.
The task force has already had some success. Last week, Brockton police seized $500 worth of fireworks. There have been 45 fireworks disturbance calls since May compared to 1500 calls in 2020.
The state is also doing a crackdown. Over the weekend, Massachusetts State Police confiscated more than 1500 illegal fireworks valued at roughly $30,000.
Cruickshank says his task force is not about penalizing people with fireworks but protecting them.
"We're looking more for confiscation than charge. We're looking more for confiscation than even issuing a citation," he said.
The Brockton joint fireworks task force has set up a hotline to handle fireworks disturbances in the city. The number is 508-941-0244.
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