SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 6, 2013

Danvers, Salem fireworks events go smoothly

(Continued)

Salem, too, had a trouble-free fireworks festival on Thursday.

“Everything went well,” said Ellen Talkowsky, special projects coordinator for the Salem Department of Public Services.

“It couldn’t have gone smoother,” said Salem police Capt. Brian Gilligan. “There were no major incidents that I was aware of.”

Gilligan said the nature of the fireworks in Danvers and Salem are different. Danvers draws a bigger crowd, and the event takes place over a longer period of time.

In Salem, while there is an orchestra that starts playing around 7 p.m., there’s a “small, manageable crowd” until 8:45 p.m. or 9 p.m. when the crowd really builds. Salem does not ban coolers, but most people don’t bring them anyway. And while bag checks would also be hard to pull off in the city neighborhood, most people who attend do not carry them, he said.

“With us, it’s making sure we have the appropriate number of people on, the right supervising plan,” Gilligan said. “It’s vigilance.”

About 20 to 25 officers, some on bikes and others on all-terrain vehicles, get out into the crowd to monitor behavior. Police also did not have any “hardcore intelligence” of any possible incidents.

“We try not to turn the event into a police state,” Gilligan said. “We try to be as vigilant as possible.”

That’s not meant as criticism of Danvers’ approach to the event, he stressed, adding that such measures work to make people feel secure.

“It sent a message about public safety there,” he said.

Trask said Danvers police, state police, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies worked to make the Danvers fireworks as safe as could be.

“They really made it as seamless as possible,” Trask said. “There was a strong police presence in the park, which added to the comfort level of the participants.” It was law enforcement officials, not the Danvers Family Festival organizers, who recommended the level of security this year, Trask said.

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