Police chiefs: Emergency calls typical over Independence Day weekend

  • Chiefs in Greenfield, Orange and Montague say there were roughly the typical number of emergency calls for fireworks and no related injuries reported over the Independence Day weekend. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

Staff Writer
Published: 7/7/2020 1:57:31 PM

This Independence Day weekend may have been the first one coupled with a coronavirus pandemic, but area police chiefs say there was little else out of the ordinary.

Chiefs in Greenfield, Orange and Montague say there were roughly the typical number of emergency calls for fireworks and other celebratory shenanigans, and no related injuries reported. They had made preemptive appeals to the public to refrain from using fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets while celebrating Independence Day, and reminded people those items are illegal in Massachusetts.

Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr., who has held the position since October 2013, said it was a pretty quiet weekend aside from some inevitable calls about fireworks. He said he believes people practiced common sense and discretion this year. There were no arrests and officers did not issue any summons.

Chief Christopher Williams said the weekend was pretty mild in Montague. There were 17 complaints about fireworks, which Williams said is about average.

“We haven’t seen an uptick like many cities and larger towns,” he said.

There have been large seizures of fireworks in cities like Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and Boston.

Orange Police Chief James Sullivan agreed the situation in his town was not exponentially worse than any other year, and he credits any increase in illegal activity to people being cooped up due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Still, he said, the number of occurrences can be frustrating.

“The guys were telling me there were a lot of fireworks going on. I really hoped it would be a lot quieter than it was,” he said on Monday. “It’s a tough issue to combat sometimes.”

According to the Orange police logs, a 66-year-old man, whose name was redacted, was summonsed to court for unlawful possession of fireworks.

But fireworks weren’t the only calls to keep Orange officers busy over the weekend. Sullivan said he had five officers around town on July 4, but they were all pulled away from their posts to assist with a call regarding a massive fight at the Orange Armory at around 9 p.m. The chief explained it “was a fairly significant event” that at one point involved roughly 20 people and required every on-duty officer to help control.

Alan Dalton Hatch Jr., 19, was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, according to the police logs. Sullivan said another person was taken into custody, but that he can’t divulge the name or details because it was a domestic situation.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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