Lewis & Clark County sheriff reports busy Fourth of July

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 05, 2024

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says this Fourth of July was more active than usual for first responders.

“It was a very, very busy night,” he said.

Dutton said officers responded to 132 calls between 3 p.m. and midnight – most of them for fireworks. Local fire departments also dealt with a number of small fires around the county.

“There have been some close calls with fires, but with the fire departments and their quick initial attack, they've been able to save any structures or loss of life,” he said. “That doesn't say there haven't been dangerous situations.”

In addition, the sheriff’s office Water Emergency Team and Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue responded to an overturned boat on Holter Lake, though everyone got out safely.

One positive note, Dutton reported, was that LCCSO did not arrest anyone for driving under the influence Thursday night.

“Right now we're having step shifts,” he said. “We have people out there working specifically for safe traffic enhancement programs, to watch where people are speeding, driving in a not safe manner. We’re also up in Lincoln – Lincoln will have their parade this weekend, so we have probably six to eight deputies up there for the weekend.”

Dutton said, with the number of calls they got Thursday night, it’s difficult for his deputies to respond to all of them. He urged the public to remember before calling to complain about fireworks that law enforcement may not be able to do anything.

“In the county, fireworks are legal; please remember that,” said Dutton. “Dispatch can only handle so much; my deputies can only handle so much. If it becomes midnight or somewhere in there and you can't sleep, you should give us a call. That's someone interfering with your ability to work the next morning.”

The Helena Police Department reported 72 calls for service within city limits Thursday, including 19 for fireworks.