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Illegal fireworks calls dominating 911 call centers

Law enforcement agencies say don't call 911, call non-emergency number to report illegal fireworks
Law enforcement agencies say don't call 911, call non-emergency number to report illegal fireworks 02:05

The 4th of July is a busy time at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Emergency Call Center.

"It's call after call after call after call," said Nate Treusch the Emergency Communications Manager for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. 

They get more calls overall, but most of the 911 calls they get are for illegal fireworks. Nate says they share the frustration with their callers.

"We wish we could tell people not to light off firework," he said.

Araphahoe County 911 call center. CBS

If your neighbors are having an unsanctioned fireworks display, you may need to call police, but dispatchers say that type of situation is not an emergency.

"A generic fireworks complaint where there's nothing on fire, there's no one getting hurt it is not a 911 call," said Treusch.

Police and Sheriff's departments are asking you to instead call their non- emergency numbers.

"If you call 911 and you reach us you're reaching the same people you're going to reach if you call our non-emergency line," said Treusch.

You could be put on hold if a more pressing call comes in but that doesn't mean your call doesn't matter.

"We take every call serious that we take up here," said Treusch.


An officer will still be sent to investigate your call but using the non-emergency line ensures people who need immediate help are served first.

"When people are calling 911 with 'I hear fireworks in my area', that's taking time away from somebody that could be calling for that heart attack," said Treusch.

Every city, town, or county law enforcement agency is different and has a different non-emergency line. You can likely look your local agency's number up on the internet. When you find it and call, police say to try to get an exact location or address to give them so they can respond as quickly as possible.

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