New officers crack down on illegal dumpers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New officers crack down on illegal dumpers

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October 20, 2005

Albany- At the beginning of the year, Mayor Willie Adams put together a task force for community improvement. Members of the group recommended that officers be hired to solely focus on enforcing environmental ordinances. Now two code enforcement officers, Sgt. Arthur butler and Sgt. Earnest Hawkins are on the case and on their way to helping clean up the city.

"This is just a small amount compared to some we've run across this past week," Sgt. Arthur Butler says.

Sgt. Arthur Butler and Sgt. Earnest Hawkins begin their day collecting about six full bags of garbage, now evidence, unlawfully dumped behind Bethel Baptist Church.

"Most people here in the city do not realize it's against the law," says Butler.

But they will once the officers track them down. Tracking dumpers is not the only part of their jobs.

"We're also looking for roll-backs, people failing to roll their garbage cans back after its been emptied. Also, we're looking at the littering cases," butler explains.

"Albany has a tremendous problem with litter, with illegal dumping, with scrap tires and those kind of things," says Public Works Director Phil Roberson.

In their first week, Butler and Hawkins have been to several dump sites, including one where trash and tires have been piled up. And on Harmon Street, dumpers have created a haven for rodents.

"This is what we cumulative trash. It's a mixture of everything, and it has to be sorted out," Butler says.

But they've left behind a city trash can, an easy way to track the owners.

"We'll be able to trace by the serial number who that belongs to."

The officers are also focusing on education. Teaching residents the proper way to dispose of waste.

"Grass trimmings that have fallen into the street. They'll actually get washed into your drain here, and it will cause your septic system to back up, or a number of things," Butler tells one resident.

If people still refuse to comply with city ordinances, Butler and Hawkins say they won't hesitate to enforce the rules and write citations.

"It's up to the judge to actually set the bond whether it be community service depending on the amount and also if it's hazardous material, jail time," Butler says.

Butler and Hawkins are both former Albany Police Mounted Patrolman and have worked together for decades. They're hoping enforcement will force more people to comply, take the extra burden off of city sanitation departments, and eventually stabilize or lower rates for solid waste.

Anyone with information on illegal dump sites or dumpers should contact the officers at the solid waste division of public works.

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