This press release was sent in partnership with the Charles County Commissioners.
Attention litterbugs: The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is increasing its enforcement of Maryland’s litter control laws this spring. The effort is part of the Waldorf Beautification Project, an initiative by the Charles County Commissioners, but will extend throughout Charles County. Sheriff Coffey will join the Commissioners at the Smallwood Park and Ride on March 29 at 1 p.m. to officially commence the campaign.
“Littering is a visible problem that thousands of residents see every day. I am pleased Sheriff Coffey is increasing litter enforcement throughout the county as doing so will only enhance our county’s natural beauty,” said Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly.”
“Littering is not only illegal but it also distracts us from the beauty of our county,” said Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey. “I am so encouraged by our role in the Waldorf Beautification Project that I am directing officers in all our districts to look for violators and take the appropriate action.”
“One of the Waldorf Beautification Project leaders, Chief of Environmental Resources Dennis Fleming, told me he considers this effort on the part of the Sheriff’s Office an integral part of the education and awareness necessary to improve the appearance of our neighborhoods, roads, and highways,” said Commissioner Vice President Reuben B. Collins, II. “I’m proud of this initiative, which has been a dream of mine for many years. I hope citizens will join us on March 29 for the Waldorf Beautification Project Spring Kick-Off and progress report.”
Generally, those who violate litter laws may be charged with a traffic citation or charged criminally. Maryland transportation code 21-1111d indicates “a person may not throw, dump, discharge, or deposit any trash, junk, or other refuse on any highway or public bridge or in any public waters.” Violators are subject to a $140 fine and two points on their licenses.
The Maryland litter control law, section 10-110 of the Maryland Code, prohibits the improper disposal of garbage on public or private property. The most common behavior that violates this law is discarding garbage or other materials from the car onto the roadway either by throwing the refuse from the vehicle or by failing to secure a load in a truck bed. Violators found guilty of this act are subject to imprisonment of up to 30 days and/or a fine of up to $1,500. Other forms of littering, such as discarding garbage that weighs more than 100 pounds, is subject to heftier finds—up to $12,500 or up to $30,000 and up to one year or five years imprisonment, depending on the size and weight of the item.
Commissioner Ken Robinson (District 1) said, “Littering is ugly, it harms the environment, and it is illegal. I am glad that we in Charles County take this seriously and will educate our citizens on why this is an important issue and initiative.”
“I’m very pleased with the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, the Commissioners, and the Waldorf Beautification Project team. The entire community will benefit from these efforts,” said Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2)
Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4) said, “This is a big step for the entire county and the Waldorf Beautification Project. I appreciate all of the cooperation we’ve received from the Sheriff’s Office. Working together is what it’s all about.”
The CCSO has previously addressed litter control and illegal trash dumping problems. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Unit and Charles County Teen Court have organized and participated in numerous neighborhood and community clean-up events. Additionally, Volunteers in Community Services (VICS) program at the Charles County Detention Center has for decades assigned offenders to highway litter pickup duty.
Anyone with a complaint about illegal trash disposal should contact the CCSO at 301-932-2222.