County taking on trash yet again

Published 12:23 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

County taking on trash yet again

Illegal dumping around Panola County has long frustrated supervisors and department heads. This area off a bridge on Harris Road (north off Ballentine Road) was cleaned up by the county earlier this year and is again littered by criminal dumping of garbage and trash.

Same song, different verse.
Panola County Supervisors took up the matter of roadside trash, and particularly illegal dumping from bridges and ditches again this week in its regular meeting Monday.
The board was again brought up-to-date about the worst areas for dumping in the county, and where road crews and others are continuing to battle “hot spots.”
Supervisors were told that county employees routinely clean ditches around some bridges that are filthy again in just a few days.
Law enforcement is of little help because dumping and littering statutes have no real teeth, and prosecutions are rare because the law requires officials to actually observe the criminal activity to successfully convict and fine offenders.
“I’m tired of this, and I’m ready to get something done no matter how much work it is for us,” board president Cole Flint told fellow supervisors. They agreed, each noting that complaints routinely come in from all districts in the county.
Game cameras have been installed at different times in different locations, but aren’t always reliable and the photos are often not clear enough to make distinctions.
Emergency Operations Manager Daniel Cole told the board he has been working on the problem from the technology end, and reported that new equipment is becoming available that allows law enforcement to have more physical evidence of illegal dumping.
“They’ve come a long way with these types of cameras and I would like to try one of the systems in a district or two and if it’s successful maybe all over the county,” he said.
Board members readily agreed to get quotes for new surveillance equipment. Reports from other counties with similar problems indicate that new cameras can be concealed from easily, have much longer battery life, and can now produce images that are clear enough for facial recognition and make car tags readable.
Additionally, tech advancements also allow for instant notification by phone of illegal dumping. “They can send the pictures to your phone almost in real-time,” Cole said.
The first camera system should cost less than $2,000 supervisors were told – a small price to pay, they said, for the prospect of cleaning the trash and household garbage from the county’s ditches and creek beds.
Cole will report to the board with quotes later in the month.

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