Sheriff takes over county litter enforcement

Published 12:06 am Sunday, October 13, 2013

NATCHEZ — Less than a year after Adams County created its Solid Waste Enforcement department, the one-man office is being restructured to be under the oversight of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

When the position was created, the county supervisors said their goal was to have an officer who could investigate illegal dumpsites and write citations for litterers. A solid waste enforcement officer, Paul Brooks, was hired, and he had in recent months worked to find ways to reduce litter in the county.

Brooks recently resigned, however, and the board of supervisors approached Sheriff Chuck Mayfield about taking over litter enforcement rather than having it stand as an independent office, Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said.

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Having the sheriff’s office oversee litter enforcement will simplify things because a deputy would have the legal authority as a law enforcement officer to write tickets, whereas the position, as the supervisors had created it, had been limited in its ability to generate enforceable citations, he said.

“The sheriff has the power to deputize the person where they can actually write tickets, and we have seen signs of success with the litter program — there have been neighborhoods that have improved tremendously in terms of abating litter — so I think it is a very good program we need to maintain in Adams County,” Grennell said.

Mayfield said he was happy for his office to take over the litter program.

“I don’t like people driving into town and the first impression they get is to see trash on the road,” he said.

“They come in and there is a lot of fast food bags and cans and bottles, it just automatically puts people on the negative side before they ever get into the city. I hate that. I hate litter.”

The sheriff said he would be working not only to investigate illegal dumpsites and cite litterers, but to start an anti-littering education campaign with the school system.

Mayfield said his office would encourage children to keep bags for trash in vehicles, and would tell them how fast food litter can actually bring animals out to the road, where a vehicle can strike them.

“We are telling the kids, ‘Don’t be a litter critter,’” he said.

“I guess if we were going to tell the adults something, it would be that if you want to be a trashy person, be a litterer.”

The solid waste enforcement position was funded by a grant, and Grennell said the funding would be transferred to the sheriff’s office.