“The problem with illegal dumping apparently is certain citizens have a disregard for other people’s property.”

Cherokee County Constable Lynn Kelley, who serves both precincts 1 and 3, said he and other law enforcement in the county work hard to curb the trash problem, but it’s a bigger job than most people realize.

Recent discoveries of illegally dumped trash near Killough Monument in Precinct 3 reflect a larger problem in Cherokee County — trash on the sides of roads, in creek beds and tossed in other remote areas.

“You note that dumpers do not, by and large, dump on their own property,” Kelley said. “Precinct 3 carries the bulk of the population in Cherokee County. Not only is it a population with rural residents, but also residents in the city.

“The city people appear to dump in the rural areas and the rural people also dump in the rural areas, but not on their own property. They utilize creek beds and remote locations, back roads.”

But what is the solution to the trash problem here?

For now, Kelley said the constables and sheriff’s deputies patrol as much as they can, hoping to catch illegal dumpers.

These officers have other duties, too, though.

“Many counties have in place a trash abatement officer,” Kelley said. “He would have the time and wherewithal to investigate these dump sites. As it stands now, peace officers throughout the county, me included, have been assigned the task of investigating illegal trash dumping.”

Cherokee County commissioners have discussed the possibility of applying for grants to pay for a litter abatement officer, but until grant money is received, the county’s already tight budget can not accommodate the position.

Cherokee County citizens can help with the problem, though, Kelley said, by reporting illegal dumping activity.

“The earlier it can be reported, the more apt the culprit will be captured,” Kelley said, adding that a newer dump site provides more opportunity for identifying the owner of the trash.

And although illegal dumping can carry criminal penalties, Kelley said he’s found making contact with the owner of the trash often gets people to clean up their mess.

“There are facilities in place to accept this type of trash,” he said. “Citizens need to realize that and utilize that. Myself, the deputies and other constables pursue legal action with illegal dumpers across the county.”

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