UNION COUNTY — The Union County Sheriff’s Office will use a $5,000 grant to purchase a video camera to help in the local fight against litter.
The grant was part of the $450,431 in Community Pride ($186,867), Enforcement ($51,823), and Keep SC Beautiful ($153,237), and Litter Trashes Everyone Education ($58,494) grants announced Wednesday by PalmettoPride during a luncheon at Seawell’s in Columbia. In a statement announcing the awards, PalmettoPride stated that more than 200 representatives from schools, local governments and community improvement organizations received checks for the grants awarded for 2013-2014.
In addition to the monetary grants awarded, PalmettoPride also awarded 1,574 trees for planting to communities around the state through its Tree Grant program.
Among the organizations receiving the grants awarded Wednesday was the Union County Sheriff’s Office which plans to use its grant to purchase surveillance equipment as it did with a previous Enforcement Grant.
“This is the second time we’ve gotten it in the last five years,” Sheriff David Taylor said this morning. “We used the last one to purchase groundhog cameras. We placed those out at illegal dump sites to catch people dumping trash illegally.
“We’re going to use this one to purchase an in-car video camera,” he said. “It will be placed in one of our patrol cars. One of the things we’ll use it for is to catch people hauling trash and it blowing out of the back of the truck.”
Taylor said the groundhog cameras purchased with the previous Enforcement Grant has enabled his office to catch and charge several people for illegally dumping. He said he expects the in-car camera to provide video evidence that will enable his office to charge people who fail to properly secure garbage as they are hauling it away.
Persons charged with illegally dumping garbage and/or failing to properly secure trash while transporting it can be tried in Magistrate’s Court. Taylor said persons convicted of either offense face fines.
An in-car video camera costs approximately $4,500 and Taylor said the balance of the $5,000 grant will be used for training purposes.
The checks were presented by PalmettoPride Director Linda Shadel who pointed out the success of the organization’s programs which have helped reduce litter by 62 percent since 2001.
“We have seen great changes across the state through our grassroots efforts,” said Shadel. “Litter has been reduced, community gardens have increased and students have been engaged.”
The announcement states that PalmettoPride “works with grass roots volunteers and community organizers to help initiate litter pick up programs, beautification projects and enforcement action. Litter is an important issue for everyone. It effects neighborhoods, economic development, real estate values, crime rates and community well-being.”
It further states that PalmettoPride grants fund more than 100 statewide projects and programs including school recycling; trees planted at parks; river cleanups, groundhog cameras; community gardens; Habitat for Humanity landscaping; and neighborhood entry signs.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 14.