County looks at litter control
by Paisley Boston
Jun 18, 2014 | 1874 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Litter along state highways has become an issue for Bolivar County.

Sheriff Kelvin Williams is searching for a litter control officer to help maintain state roads and highways.

"The county has a litter control program that they use to partner with the state. This program is intended to help counties remain clean and beautified. The key to making our county look beautiful is to keep our highways clean, especially the ones that lead into communities. When litter is picked up off of the side of state roads and highways, this also helps when individuals mow," said Williams.

The state gives county commissions the authority to designate an enforcement agency to enforce ordinances of the county. 

This enforcement agency can include the hiring of a county litter control officer.

The county hires a litter control officer, then authorizes the county litter control officer to enforce the laws relating to litter, open dumps, and proof of proper solid waste disposal.

"This person will serve throughout the county but it is setup for state roads and highways. A person in this position is greatly needed. It has worked in the past and we are trying to get back to it," Williams said.

He also said when he took office there was an individual serving in this position, but after the total number of community inmates was reduced, the correctional facility was no longer able to have a litter control officer.

"We no longer had the required number of community inmates to have this program. We use inmates to do the labor and that is why we are trying to get someone who is certified to oversee the inmates," said Williams.

Williams said he has been receiving calls from citizens regarding litter on the sides of Old Highway 61 and roads that lead into communities.

"We are not responsible for litter in the communities but we may work with the county to pick up trash but only after we have ensured that the highways have been maintained or cleaned," said Williams.

"The litter control officer receives funding from the state. They keep up with the number of hours that they work, bags of trash accumulated and mileage," she added.

He also said inmates work in litter control as part of the earn release supervision program.

According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, work release is a portion of the community release program that allows selected inmates to work at paid employment in the community during the last months of their confinement.

An inmate must meet established criteria in order to be considered for placement in a work release center.

The inmate must be in the department custody for at least 60 days and remain disciplinary report free for 60 days prior to placement and be classified as community custody.

"We only have a limited number of these individuals. We have to get inmates recertified in order to place more than one or two guys on litter control. Inmates are classified according to standards designed by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Inmates that wear green and white are community inmates – these inmates are nonviolent," said Williams.

If an inmate violates any conditions of early release program, the inmate is arrested and returned to MDOC and provided a classification hearing.

"We will probably use a correctional officer who has been properly trained with handling inmates," said Williams.

"There is a sheriff conference held every year. The department that has accumulated the most bags of litter receives an award. They have made this a competition but I am not concern with the competition, I just want the highways to be clean," she added.