Task Force Formed to Combat Illegal Dumps on the Alpena National Road

A new task force has been formed in Cheboygan County, made up of local law enforcement agencies and the Cheboygan County District Attorney’s Office, to prosecute those caught illegally throwing household waste.

For the past few years, Cheboygan resident Karen Martin, her family and a large group of volunteers have worked to help clean up illegal dumpsites off Alpena State Road. Over 285 cubic meters of waste was removed from the area. However, despite efforts to clean up the forest, people have once again illegally dumped waste in the area.

After:Illegal dumpsites found outside Cheboygan

After:Grand Finals event clears the last of the forest trash on Alpena State Road

“This year, when (Martin) expressed concern that there were more illegal dumping, I decided that we at the sheriff’s department would take the lead,” Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Clarmont said. . “And not only start enforcing illegal dumping issues more aggressively, but also taking her in and helping her with cleanup efforts.”

Clarmont said the new task force will help resolve and potentially eliminate issues, with dedicated resources. Deputy Jeff Bur will lead the working group.

The goal of the new task force is not only to keep the forest clean across the county, but also to hold individuals who break the law and illegally dispose of their household waste accountable and prosecute them to the fullest extent possible. the law.

Through this new task force, Bur will coordinate with staff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department Work Team Program to perform weekly or bi-weekly cleanup of areas of concern. MNR provided a 10-yard dumpster to assist with cleanup, at no cost to the Sheriff’s Department.

Bur will also work with Martin to develop an action plan, developing areas to focus on and routes of concern where the spill is likely to occur. When Martin finds an area of ​​concern, she places a marker so it can be found by the work crew and others helping clean up.

Several other entities, including the Cheboygan County Roads Commission, the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners and the Benton Township Board of Directors, also work with this working group. Benton Township Supervisor Bruce Brandt waived the cost to task force members to dispose of any debris found illegally dumped at the township transfer station.

While walking her dog on Alpena State Road last winter, Karen Martin found a rollaway bed that had been dumped and burned just off the roadway.

“We want to make it very clear to people that we’re going to start strictly enforcing and monitoring illegal dumpers in the woods,” Clarmont said. “Not just there, but all over the county. But especially in areas of concern.”

Most of the illegally dumped material was found near the firing range on Alpena State Road and off the trails in that area.

The Sheriff’s Department and MNR strategically placed trail cameras in areas identified as areas of concern. These cameras are well hidden and will allow the sheriff’s department to obtain photos and video of anyone dumping illegally.

Clarmont warns the public not to look for the cameras. The devices have automatic feeds to the cellphones of members of the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies, so they will be able to see who is near the cameras in real time. Members will then be able to respond in a few minutes.

“If you see the cameras, leave them alone,” he said.

Anyone tampering with any of the trail cameras placed in the area will be charged with tampering, stealing or destroying police property, which is a felony.

The sheriff’s department will also coordinate with the district attorney’s office through the new task force to hold those caught discharging accountable for their actions.

Anyone caught dumping illegally will no longer receive a verbal warning. They will be ticketed, arrested and prosecuted for their actions.

“At the end of the day, people have to take their trash to the landfill, transfer station, or whatever is legal,” Clarmont said. “Dumping in our woods is no longer an option.”

Clarmont said there are township dump days where people can get rid of larger or unwanted items, or transfer stations in the county that will accept the items. It will be much cheaper to take the items to a landfill or transfer station than to put them on the side of the road.

“I can assure people who are considering illegal dumping to try and save money that by the time we are done with them, it would have been a lot cheaper to do it the legal way.” he declared.

Anyone who witnesses an illegal dumping is urged to call 911 and report it, so local law enforcement can respond. If they come across a place where this has happened before, they are also asked to call and report it. Bur will be notified and it will be cleaned as soon as possible.

Contact feature writer Kortny Hahn at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @khahnCDT.

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