The Hamilton County Environmental Crimes Task Force is heating up this summer. Corporal Bryan Peak with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office leads a multi-department effort to crack down on illegal dumping of tires, construction debris and other household items. Listen to the latest podcast of Heart and Hustle in Hamilton County, and subscribe, to hear about this great program helping to improve the quality of life for Hamilton County, Oh residents.
So besides tires, what else are you kind of dealing with as far as illegal dumping? A lot?
Bridgette, I mean, we do. Yeah, unfortunately, from cleanouts. I mean, you know, we find stuff that we deem you know, folks have four family, three family, two families, and their maintenance guy has given X amount of money to clean one out if you know, a tenant has left. And in lieu of taking it to a dump site ramky for 3540 bucks, they ought to keep the money in their pocket, and they find a dead end street or an alleyway and they get rid of it, dispose and keep the money in their pocket. It could be anything from trash, it could be household waste, it could be I mean, just old used furniture. I mean, just you name it, we've run into it.
Do you see this? Are there either seasonal times of the year where this happens more than others? And are there geographic hotspots throughout the county that just because their geography etc. You see more of this happen?
Yes. Excuse me, we find in the city. There are certain districts that have hotspots Absolutely. In in the county, there's probably at least two of the townships that a little bit more rural in off the beaten path where you can dispose of something, you know, and be undetected or not seen, whether it be during the day or during the night. But yeah, there's, we do our best I mean, you know, with the partnership with keep Cincinnati beautiful. I mean, we've got multiple cameras, upwards of 20 cameras, and we, we try to hit most of the hotspots, you know, within the communities where, you know, folks on councils come to us and say, Hey, we need your help, and we try to accommodate the best we can.
So give us give us a couple of stories. Over your years of doing this, what's what's the most egregious dumping that you've seen.
On the east side, probably about a year and a half ago, we had Mirabelle tar dumps on not right away, but an alley that folks would have to travel to get to their detached garages. And one Sunday morning, unfortunately, when the couple's couple families come out, and they couldn't navigate to get to their garage, because, you know, under the color of darkness, quite big dump truck dump to loads of us tires, in that alley, that completely eliminated their access to their garage, they couldn't park on the street, hence the reason for the alleyway. You know, in addition, just within the last year or two, we had a big refrigerator dump. You know, now, as you know, or most people probably know is that you if you're going to dispose of a refrigerator, you have to have the Freon extracted has to be a certificate. So my professional has to do that before CO and recycling or somebody will accept it. We had five dumped across from Christ hospital on a dead end street. And that was pretty, pretty, pretty bad deal.
Do you see repeat offenders in this in this business? Or do you when you take someone through the process they get they get fined? They go through the housing court? Do you find that people learn from these experiences? Or do you have people that you're constantly citing to this to the to the housing court.
So since I've been doing the, the job, the position, I've only had one person that's been a multiple, you know, time offender recidivist. And I won't say that I've had people but there's a specific company that we found that has been dumping. Maybe the company owner doesn't know, but it's his employees with the likeness, the name on the side of the truck. It's his company. So only one individual, but we do have a company that, you know, currently we're watching as well, because we believe that they've been partaking in the illegal dumping, meaning that they're hard, you know, by the city to do a contracting job. And then, in lieu of disposing of the solid waste correctly, it ends up in a parking lot, it ends up in a vacant lot, it ends up, you know, someplace like that.
Well, and I hope that the fact that there's a couple of instances that you can recognize, as repeat offenders, I'd hope that for the most part, this is an educational process for people, right. I mean, they, they they do it, it's, you know, maybe they think I don't have any options to dispose of all these trees, tree stumps or what have you. They do it, they get caught. there's a there's a penalty for that. And hopefully they realize I don't I don't do this again.
I would hope so as well, Jeff, I mean, at the end of the day, when those individuals go to court, typically, at minimum, they're going to get core cost, which is 160 bucks, versus if they would have just gone to a dump, it's going to be you know, a third of that. And then if the judge finds it egregious enough, or you know, wants to see pictures of the dumping and, you know, he also has the opportunity to give them other fines. So at the end of the day, yes, they are paying once they go to court for more than what they would have had to pay or just dealt with it appropriately.
So you know what, when I think about environmental crimes, because I wasn't really sure what it was in the beginning and I was thinking deforestation toxic dump but but dumping of you know, tires and these refrigerators, I mean, there's a real like environmental piece to this where, you know, like we've talked about, you know, the tires can burn, they don't go anywhere. I mean, can you talk about like the environmental factors of cleaning up some of this mass,
depending upon the dumping and depending upon what it is, obviously, the tires are the biggest aspect and you know, the state EPA steps in and assist on a big tire dump just because of the manner in which they have to be removed. You know, when it gets to polluting a stream or polluting waterways or like that that's obviously as you know, another big No, no. But on that aspect of it, I mean, you know, the Board of Health steps in and they assist as well as with the eat Pa and, you know, I would rely on them because that's their training, that's what they do. I like to say on the Segway, they, you know, assist them to get these folks in the court, you know, I don't have that training those certifications to registered sanitarians. And such that, you know, are, you know, part of the Board of Health that investigate these crimes, but when it's egregious, or when they get notice of violations, and there's no compliance, then that's where ME THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE steps in on the Segway, that gets them to court. So I mean, I scratched the surface, but you know, I'm a policeman, I don't have all the training and the technical aspects of, you know, these folks that, you know, do it everyday and know what,
yeah, but as we were talking about before the show, I mean, you just mentioned it from a public health perspective, I mean, you're talking about tires, entire dumps that, you know, can be in a field behind someone's house, or even God forbid, like you said, even in a driveway between two houses, there's really no better harbor for stagnant water and mosquito larva than then use tires dumped out there. And so you get these big pools of mosquitoes, and especially during the summer that are disease vectors, etc. So this is a real quality of quality, not only quality of life, but public health issue as well.
And in addition to that, Jeff, I mean, you know, part of the one of the other aspects of what this job entails is we inspect tire shops or even box door you know, buildings and sell tires, your tire discounters, your, you know, Mikey are mom and pop stores. And with the Board of Health, I go in with a one of the registered sanitarians and we do an inspection. And that inspection is for compliance issues to make sure that they have a secured area for these tires. If it's an outside area, it's expected to be covered unless there's weekly pick up from, you know, your liberty tire service that you're rumpy, that comes and gets, you know, the US tires. In addition to that, inside of these buildings, you know, they have the tires, if they're stored inside have to be a certain distance away from the ceiling. So, you know, God forbid, if the building would catch on fire, the fire department has a means to extinguish or, you know, put out the fire and it's done safely. So there's, there's, there's, you know, different aspects of the tires, the tires, or could potentially be a problem all the way around.
Right, right? Well, as we wrap up here, today, corporate anything else you would like the public to know, just in terms of reporting, again, accessing your services, etc, any any last words that you would leave the public with,
it's my biggest help, or the complaint, or, you know, the complaints I receive, like anything is, if you're going to report a crime to me, or report a tip to me, rather, via any of the three domains, which we've discussed, just be as detailed as you can be as thorough as you can be that way, the more information I have, the better I have, you know, resources to follow up with either catching them apprehending them, or, you know, at least putting them on my radar, especially if it's in a community that, you know, folks are just fed up with the dumping so you know, as thorough as you can be, never putting yourself in harm's way. But you know, if you can snap a picture, snap a video, partial license plates, and you know, maybe potentially identify a driver or persons involved, you know, if it's a trailer, any of that, that would be color of trailer, I've had that, you know, where people are very specific, and it's been, you know, very, very good, I've been able to, you know, from tips, I've been able to get some some really good stuff,
you can really tell that you like your job, and you know, what are the aspects that you like about doing it, since you are a unit of one, I can
honestly tell you that, as an investigator early on, as you know, it's hard to defeat video or still photographs. So most of this stuff is misdemeanor dumping. But when I go and meet with these people, you know, explain what's going on. And, you know, to my face, they tell me, it wasn't me, it wasn't me, you know, nobody else drives my truck. And I have this array of photos here of an individual that as I'm looking at you, I'm thinking, this is probably you, if you're telling me nobody else was driving this truck, you know, and I'm very transparent, even though is my evidence, okay? I will show them the photographs and explain well, then I need your help, because I need to know who this is. And they will look at that photo. They look me in the eyes, and look back and say, Man, you got me. And I'm thinking I appreciate the fact that you're being honest with me, you know, and or there's a positive resolution, in my opinion, because as we discussed, Jeff, hopefully, they won't be a recidivist. They're going to go to court. And you know, as long as they go in and fall on the sword, if you will, and admit that they did a really bad mistake. It's probably going to be better for them. They're going to be cited, they're going to be fine. But at the end of the day, you would hope that this resonates with somebody that hey, somebody is watching, you know, you never know who's out there. You never know what your neighbors you know, taking Video over still photos of just because they're tired of it in their community,
right? Well, as Bridget said, Corporal, it's clear that you like what you do. And on behalf of Hamilton County, we're happy, you're out there doing it. You helped to make this community a cleaner, healthier, a safer place for people. And while most times you're probably dealing with people reporting tips electronically and things like that, you're you're resolving these issues and cleaning things up very directly for people who call have a quality of life issue in their community. And we can't thank you enough for that, especially his bridgid said, as a department of one. One thing I do want to just re emphasize, as you said earlier, for people who want to report a tip, they can go to report dumping.org or they can call 9467788. And, as as corporal Peake said a little bit earlier, if you are out there and you're listening to this podcast, and you're thinking that well shoot, what other options do I have? I've got all this junk. I've got all these tree limbs, I've got these trash. I got this tires, what do I do? Go to Hamilton County recycles.org. They have resources there that will tell you no matter what it is, whether it's computers, refrigerators, tires, trash, yard waste, how to get rid of that safely, responsibly, and hopefully cost effectively as well. Corporal, thank you so much for being with us today. And I want to thank all of you for listening to Episode 10 of heart and hustle in Hamilton County. On behalf of my co host Bridget Doherty. I want to encourage you to subscribe on Apple podcast Spotify and other providers. And you can find this podcast on our website Hamilton County ohio.gov on the county administrator's page and we will see you next time on heart and hustle in Hamilton County.