Perusing the news, as I do, I found an interesting event occurred last night on an issue I’ve been holding on the back burner for a long time now. I’ve had little information on this, but started watching last June because of information I received about last year. Fireworks is not something I’ve been able to find out a lot about in regards to the sheriff’s activities, but this event parallels the thoughts I’ve been having regarding what I do know and now that it’s happened, let me share on this subject.
A few days back, we just saw a big article on how our County Board of Supervisors were going to get tough and increase enforcement on fireworks this year. The danger posed by fireworks and the drought were simply too much to sit back and do nothing. So they raised the fines. Boy did the Mercury News play this up as a big event. Last night, Alameda County did our job for us. Thank you Alameda County!
But where is the sheriff on increased enforcement for fireworks? Why is Alameda county doing undercover work that finds what we should find in our own county? Are we making any effort at all to be pro-active before someone blows off their kids fingers and we fine them? Is the Sheriff’s Office doing undercover buys like this trying to find people who may be living right next to you with more than 100 lbs of explosives? Or are they simply going to cite people a small fortune when they’re caught lighting off the explosive fireworks bought from the people making illegal fireworks? Last year, from what I’ve been told by a few people, the entire “increased enforcement” for the 4th of July consisted of sending more deputies into San Jose to help them write tickets for fireworks and almost no increased efforts in the actual county areas. I don’t know how true this is, but information from several sources was similar enough, I don’t doubt their story could stray to far. Alameda County SO isn’t the only Sheriff’s Office actively seeking illegal fireworks.
Just days ago, Contra Costa County had a major bust that took a TON of explosives off our streets in an undercover sting. When is the last time you saw Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office involved in undercover work of their own efforts that made out streets safer? All this noise this year doesn’t sound like “tough enforcement” to me, sounds more like “how do we get more money in our coffers.” Doesn’t sound like “public safety first” because running an undercover event like this costs money, but it got 100 pounds of potential illegal fireworks off our streets in one fell swoop — much cheaper to have deputies already on the streets doing the same thing, just with a bigger fine.
Honestly, I think Alameda County should just send the bill to our BoS. After all, they should have the extra cash from the fines after the 4th. Though with all that explosive off the street, the money potential may have been reduced a bit. I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but it seems more and more other people are taking up the sheriff’s slack. The DA’s office runs a cold case unit now, the DA and the BoS drove the human trafficking program to fruition after the sheriff decommissioned her vice squad other than on paper because she didn’t want her office pursuing prostitution any longer. Now Alameda County is doing the real work to get fireworks off our streets.
But hey, she won the election — give the people what they want.