A dedicated environmental crimes deputy and community partnerships are working together in the effort to clean up illegal dumpsites in Pottawatomie County, with more than 100 tons of trash cleaned up so far.

On Thursday, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth thanked co-owner of Central Disposal, Todd Adcock, for his partnership with the department and Deputy Shaun Copelin as they work on getting rid of illegal dumpsites and trash.

According to Deputy Copelin, who heads the Environmental Crimes division, the sheriff’s office started the program about six months ago.

“The Sheriff’s Office has made Environmental Crimes a priority in Pott. County,” Copelin said. “We’re trying to clean up all the illegal dumpsites and in six months we’ve cleaned up just under 100 tons of trash.”

As part of his initiative and work, Copelin said he’s asked local businesses for help and among them is Central Disposal.

Adcock said his company owns Central Point Landfill and they allow Copelin to dump trash from the 20-25 illegal dumpsites he finds throughout the county.

“When we bought the company in 2009, we knew we wanted to go after the Shawnee contract. We wanted to continue a relationship with the community,” Adcock said. “So, when they called, this fit perfectly.”

In addition to Central Disposal, Copelin said other local businesses that help with Environmental Crime efforts are Herc Rentals, which provides heavy equipment, Whites Ace Hardware, which provides discounted materials, CH&W Tire, which stores dumped tires and Daniel Ratcliff Landscaping, which offers discounted fencing.

The Environmental Crimes division is funded by the Department of Environmental Quality and receives a lot of support from the County Commissioners as well as the Sheriff himself.

“Deputy Copelin has done a phenomenal job to coordinate everything. He gets on the ball to get it cleaned up,” Booth said.

A typical day for Copelin is driving around the county and identifying illegal dumpsites then searching the trash for the individuals who put it there.

“I believe the city deserves a beautiful, healthy and safe place to live for their families and it’s disturbing to see all the trash,” Copelin said. “It brings pests, vermin, and disease. I’m happy the Sheriff chose me to head this up and it’s satisfying to see.”

Copelin said the Environmental Crimes department is about to start working on two new cleanup projects that he predicts will produce about 50-60 tons of trash.

The projects are going to be funded by a $20,400 grant provided by the DEQ.

Copelin explained he would rather not issue out tickets and citations and encourages the community to responsibly dispose of their trash.

“This is a priority now for the Sheriff’s office and I want to get the word out,” Copelin said.

The trash dump hotline is 405-309-7797.