FAA Reacts to Fresno PD Fireworks Show

May 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More fallout from the fireworks show at Fresno P.D. K-9 training. It happened on several occasions' right in the path of airplanes.Now fireworks of a different kind are shaking up the K-9 unit.

The Sergeant in charge is being moved out of the unit, and now several officers who lit the fireworks are wondering what punishment they could face.

Illegal fireworks exploded in the air. While close to a dozen Fresno Police K-9 officers either watch or spark up a few themselves.

Sergeant Carlos Frausto was there during the police horseplay. Action News has learned Frausto happened to be the responding officer who interviewed the air traffic controller that reported seeing fireworks from the tower. The controller took a picture of the firework.

Frausto is being transferred out of the unit as a direct result of his participation in the incidents that caused concern for pilots flying commercial planes.

F.A.A. officials watched our story that aired Monday night. "I think it's disappointing that people who should know better apparently repeatedly set off fireworks and bottle rockets under the departure path from Fresno Yosemite International Airport," said F.A.A. spokesman, Ian Gregor.

The F.A.A. is not an enforcement agency, so it does not have any power to investigate or punish the police department.

"We don't have jurisdiction in the matter and we don't have the resources or frankly the authority to investigate incidents like this so we handed over the factual information we had to the police department and left it to the experts to investigate," said Gregor.

The K-9 unit is made up of 14 officers, plus one sergeant. Fresno Police interviewed 17 officers as part of its internal affairs investigation. The police chief cannot discuss the outcome or punishment yet to come.

However, department leaders have confirmed all fireworks were immediately removed from the training facility one day after our first story aired in February. The department's aerial fireworks policy has changed and several changes are expected within the K-9 unit.

Discipline handed down to officers involved is expected to range in severity.

Sergeant Frausto is also facing another new investigation into on-duty conduct on a separate unrelated matter.


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