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Fireworks calls need witnesses

East Multnomah County police departments are trying out a new reporting system for fireworks-related calls

Due to Fourth of July calls that tend to triple typical call loads, East Multnomah County police departments are trying out a new reporting system for fireworks-related calls.

If callers in Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village and unincorporated Multnomah County are willing to actually sign and issue a citation to the offending party, an officer will be dispatched to the scene, said Officer Grant McCormick, a Gresham police spokesman. Otherwise, the information will be passed to busy officers, but those officers will not be dispatched.

McCormick said that in past years call volumes over the Fourth of July holiday have stretched officers to their limits across East County. Even when officers are able to respond to a fireworks-related call, the offender has usually stopped setting off the illegal fireworks, meaning an officer can't witness the behavior and issue a citation.

By having the reporting party who witnessed the offense sign the citation, the offender is more likely to be prosecuted, McCormick said. The reporting party also will have to follow through by calling the district attorney's office, he added.

Keep in mind, officers will respond to fireworks or explosive-related calls that pose a serious risk to life or property.

Also, if it explodes, flies into the air more than 12 inches or moves across the ground more than 6 feet, it's an illegal firework in Oregon.