Fourth of July one of the busiest nights in dispatch - Tucson News Now

Fourth of July one of the busiest nights in dispatch

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

9-1-1 lines in Tucson lit up on one busy night for Tucson Police dispatchers. Hundreds called in about illegal fireworks Thursday night.

"In the city of Tucson, anything that shoots up in the air, you can't use," said Michelle Loftin.

9-1-1 operators worked extra hard Thursday as calls poured in with questions and complaints about illegal fireworks.

"Ground and handheld sparkling devices you can use," said Loftin.

"New Year's Eve and Fourth of July are pretty much the same," said Lori Gallegos, communications supervisor. "We're pretty busy those two nights."

Communication Supervisor, Lori Gallegos says the call volume as its highest between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.

"In the midst of the evening hours, it's usually they're seeing [fireworks], they see people outside they don't normally see, they're suspicious as to what they're doing."

Last Fourth of July they had around 650 calls come in during an eight hour period. That's double what they'd get on any normal night.

"If it shoots straight up in the air you can't use it," said Loftin.

The dispatcher uses his or her discretion for the priority of the call and whether they're seeing a pattern in the same area.

"A lot of the fireworks sound like gunshots and they want to error on the side of caution," said Gllegos.

Because of staffing shortages, this team of 16 police communicators are doing their job with no extra help.

"As new hires come in as we get the availability of getting new people to come in," said Gallegos. "Then hopefully in the years to come we'll see extra staffing on these days."

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