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SJ deputies seized more Illegal fireworks than during previous years
SJ sheriff

San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow is proud of the work that his deputies did in removing illegal fireworks from circulation in advance of the Fourth of July holiday.

At the same time, Withrow said in his monthly address on social media this week that he realized that it probably felt like the effort was just a drop in the bucket when it comes to exploding aerial mortars and other illegal fireworks that filled San Joaquin County skies last month.

While it was his first address in two months due to extensive traveling for both work and pleasure, Withrow pointed out that he understands the frustrations and the impacts that illegal fireworks can have on quality of life and said that his deputies and the task force they serve on remain dedicated to continuing to stem the tide of the oftentimes annoying and potentially dangerous devices.

“They got hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fireworks off the street, although as I said in the press conference – it probably didn’t make the news – if you were out here on the Fourth of July it probably sounded like we didn’t make a dent,” Withrow said. “It was very loud – my dogs freaked out and a lot of people’s dogs freaked out so hopefully we can keep doing this.

“We got more off the street this year than ever before – guns and dope along with that – so great job by our task force and they’ll keep working hard on that.”

In partnering with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office for the pre-holiday enforcement, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office was able to remove more than a ton of illegal fireworks from the community before the holiday – and was responsible for one high-profile bust that resulted in extensive media coverage and drove an online conversation about the nuisance that the fireworks have become.

A late June raid on a home in Ripon that included the sheriff’s department SWAT Team sparked an uproar online when media coverage that was sympathetic to the family that was the subject of the investigation claimed that they were being unfairly targeted – something that Withrow and outgoing San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar pushed back against in a press conference last month.

In addition to offering more information about the incident, the task force also released multiple body camera videos along with evidence that was used to substantiate a warrant in the case that directly negated the claims that there were no illegal fireworks at the home that was raided by officers.

The combination of a strong law enforcement response coupled with active prosecution from the DA’s office represents the dedication that county officials have shown to stepping up enforcement and doing everything possible to protect residents during the popular holiday.

To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.