UTICA, N.Y. ---The Utica Police Department said they received over 50 complaint calls regarding illegal fireworks. Viewers in Utica reported seeing and hearing dozens of displays across the area.
"Most of the complaints happen after about 10 PM and I think that’s the issue. It’s not so much the use of the fireworks it’s that it’s annoying to both the neighbors public and the pets," said Sgt. Mike Curley of the Utica Police Department.
Sergeant Curley said that it's difficult to enforce the issue because the emergency calls take more of a priority.
"With our dispatching system there a priority and order calls. Most emergency calls would take priority over fireworks complaints. But obviously the fireworks complaints are being dispatched out as timely as possible. The issue is when we get there all of the fireworks have been exploded and we’re not there to witness the exact complaint of what’s going. We do our best to investigate what’s happening afterwards," said Curley.
In 2014, New York legalized sparkler display fireworks. The ones that launch into the air remain illegal. Joe Speciale's family has been in the fireworks business for over 70 years. His shop, Speciale Fireworks on Broad Street in Utica sells legal fireworks. Speciale said he heard about the complaint calls over the weekend.
He said the fireworks he sells at his shop could be less of a nuisance.
"It's not an aerial repeater that has between 20 to 50 shots and making noises above people's houses and in their backyards. So I think people get more annoyed with that," said Speciale.
Police said if you're caught with fireworks it's a class B misdemeanor on top of the other penal code violations.