CITY of Tulsa trash cops keep busy cleaning up illegal dumps

Saturday, July 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The city hopes to put a stop to illegal dumpers. Two new officers are looking into Tulsa's trash troubles.

KOTV's Emory Bryan says it only costs about $25 to dump a truckload of trash at the dump, but many people choose to save the money and dump illegally. It was easy to get away with - but won't be quite as easy anymore. Officers James Atkins and Brian Randell go to work knowing they'll spend their day picking through trash. They're new on the trash beat, sorting out receipts and pictures from the mess hoping for something they can take to court. James Atkins, Trash Cop: "We need three pieces of evidence before we can write a ticket for these items." They're not just digging for anything - they're looking for specific information that can help them find who dumped this trash. And they usually find it. Brian Randell, Trash Cop: "Piece of mail like this that's got their name on it." Randell and Atkins are full time investigators checking reports of illegal dumping.

They'll concentrate on active sites, where dumping happens again and again. They're not hard to find. Mark Hogan, Trash cop: "And when we came out here to find the trash in the detention area, we found this trash pile here." A site in southeast Tulsa is the largest site found so far. The trash cops followed the trail back to a landscape company that admitted dumping here for the last year. They were ticketed, but will have a chance to clean it up before they go to court. Hogan says "It's a court offense and it will be settled by the municipal court in the city of Tulsa." The city gets involved when trash is dumped on another person's property - or when it's not contained inside a dumpster or in trash bags. It's investigated as a crime - and a possible health hazard. Hogan adds, "We don't have any idea of what's in the bags and pots and whatever is underneath the pile, so there's no way to tell what will get into our water supply."

The people connected to the south Tulsa site have been ticketed, and could face up to $500 fines. People with information on illegal dumpsites should call the Mayor's Action Center at 596-2100.