JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A year-long collaboration between a Johnson City neighborhood and police – helped fizzle out so-called “firework wars”
Neighbors describe a chaotic scene in the West Davis Park neighborhood on July 4, 2018.
At one point – people were throwing fireworks at cars, onto people’s yards and even at police officers.
News Channel 11 was granted overnight access to join officers on patrol in the West Davis Park neighborhood and learned their efforts appeared to pay off.
Johnson City police making Northside Elementary School a command post – the epicenter of the July 4 operation of increased patrols in the West Davis Park neighborhood.
Officers – patrolling on foot, on bicycles and in cruisers.
Jaeda Burkey – one of those officers.
“We’re being a huge police presence, we’re looking for fireworks, any suspicious activity,” Officer Burkey said.
A call came in of a large group of people walking in the street.
“Every time they see us or they see you they go back and forth,” Officer Burkey told other officers.
That group – eventually dispersed.
Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner said he’s pleased with the patrols in West Davis Park.
“We looked at the West Davis as a hot spot, there were very few calls for service where we had a number of them last year,” Officer Burkey said.
City wide – from July 1 to July 5 – firework calls went down from last year.
“Last year we had 103 fireworks calls and this year we were down to 62,” Chief Turner said.
But – the number of people breaking the city ordinance to not use fireworks – went up.
“In 2018 we had 11 adult arrests and 1 juvenile arrest by citation and this year we had 14 adult arrests,” Chief Turner said.
He added that there’s more work to be done.
“We’ll be looking at West Davis Park as well as some other neighborhoods and we’ll analyze this year’s data as well to see where most of the calls were service were, so we can concentrate on those areas as well.” Chief Turner said.
Teresa Wilson lives in the West Davis Park neighborhood and experienced last year’s mayhem – firsthand.
“We were I guess what you say – shot at. It was just such a chaotic, chaos,” Wilson said.
She was pleased to see police throughout her neighborhood this July 4 and hopes to never see another July 4 like 2018.
“You felt safe. It was good. I have to admit it was good this year,” Wilson said.
Those 14 people cited this year could be fined up to $50 plus court costs.