EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Fourth of July weekend is here, and with it comes fireworks… Many of you may already hear fireworks in your neighborhoods.

Many police departments are gearing up to respond to complaints about illegal fireworks.

Eyewitness News reporter Andy Mehalshick spoke with officials from across our region. All told him the same thing, they are being inundated with complaints and concerns about the use of fireworks, and they say they do their best to respond to those complaints because it’s all about public safety.

The sights and sounds of the season, fireworks being set off in neighborhoods across northeastern and central Pennsylvania, and police departments across our region said they are ready to handle the expected high number of calls from residents concerned about safety, as well as the peace and quiet of their neighborhood.

“We have extra manpower on duty to receive the complaints. We are doing our best to actively look for people who are lighting off these fireworks in areas that are very unsafe,” said Kyle Shumosic, the Chief of the Pittston City Police Department.

Chief Shumosic and Mayor Mike Lombardo said it’s all about public safety.

“Do you have to catch them in the act?” Asked Mehalshick.

“Not necessarily catch them in the act, there is an investigation involved. The start of the enforcement is really a summary citations, then it could build up to criminal charges depending on what happened,” explained Chief Shumosic.

“So, I just ask that everyone works with us. This is a community and a community is about everybody coming together doing the right thing not us coming down looking like big brother and trying to enforce. We want to have fun too but we want to do it in a safe manner,” said Mayor Lombardo.

Mayor Lombardo says fireworks complaints are not the only complaints officers have to deal with.

“I would note though that everything else doesn’t stop. There’s certainly other issues that our officers deal with particularly on the weekend so then it becomes a matter of choice. We have to prioritize our responses,” Lombardo explained.

Eyewitness News heard pretty much the same thing from officials across our region. As for penalties, most area communities have ordinances in place. With fines that range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars for setting off illegal fireworks. The bottom line? Keeping people safe.

Reporter Andy Mehalshick will have the story coming up on later editions of Eyewitness News.