The Clinton Police Department is starting a selected enforcement operation targeting vehicles that are illegally depositing litter in the city limits.
“The emphasis will be on vehicles that intentionally or recklessly dispose of litter, and this will include commercial trucks that do not have their loads properly secured,” Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley stated.
In April, Clinton Mayor Lew Starling asked city staff to investigate the issue of trash being strewn along the roadways in and around Clinton, and across the county for that matter.
“We have a very serious problem with trash on the public roadways,” Starling said at the time, mentioning U.S. 701, U.S. 421 and N.C. 24. “It is a very serious problem on Faircloth Freeway, it is a very serious problem on the roadways leading into Sampson County. All the major roadways are as trashy as I’ve ever seen. We need to see if we can figure out how to solve this problem.
He asked Tilley and City manager Shawn Purvis to come up with a course of action and
He alluded to the many regular efforts made to clean up Clinton, as well as the millions of dollars spent in revitalizing not only the downtown and surrounding area but across the entire city. Trashy thoroughfares in and around Clinton and Sampson County put an unsightly damper on those strides, he noted.
“I’m not throwing blame on anyone or any particular entity but it is a very, very serious problem. We need to have some very strict enforcement of the litter laws, inspections of vehicles hauling litter and whatever it takes within the confines of the law to solve this problem,” Starling asserted. “This is a problem that I think is growing, and we need to stop it and clean up the city and county.”
Tilley laid out the goals of the new campaign, which will start with education and public awareness of the problem.
The police chief prepared a letter for commercial trucking companies identified as transporting debris through the city limit — to be mailed prior to the start of the campaign — explaining the problem and the enforcement plan. The letter notes that the Clinton Police Department is seeking help to curtail litter and debris that is being deposited on city roadways.
“One of the sources for this problem is trucks that are not properly covered or loads that are improperly secured,” the letter reads. “Our department is requesting that companies and their drivers check their loads to ensure it is compliant with state law to help stop this problem.”
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Clinton Police Department will be teaming together to look for violating vehicles and enforce state law in regards to littering and vehicle loads, referring the company to N.C. General Statutes regarding Size of Vehicles and Loads and Littering.
“Penalties for these violations may include fines up to $2,000,” the letter from Tilley states.
At a date to be determined, directive patrols will be dedicated to locating violators and taking enforcement actions, he noted. Also during selected times, the N.C. Highway Patrol has agreed to assist with the enforcement segment. Once the campaign does begin, it will span a month before further evaluation.
“The littering campaign will be conducted for 30 days and supervised by the Services Commander,” Tilley stated. “Activities will be documented by participating uniform officers in the records management system. At the conclusion of this period, the operation will be evaluated for effectiveness.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.