Long overdue

News Hits got word this week that those long-awaited illegal dumping tickets are finally available to the Detroit Police Department.

The City Council voted to decriminalize illegal dumping in September, making it a civil infraction instead. When the law changed, the tickets previously issued to illegal dumpers became obsolete. Environmental officers, however, were not told of the revision and continued issuing the old tickets, many of which were thrown out of court.

News Hits learned this week from environmental activist Billie Hickey that the new tickets are available. Hickey, executive director of Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, has been tracking the illegal dumping issue. She says Sarah Lile, environmental affairs director for the city, told her on Monday that the tickets are ready to go.

News Hits called Lile to find out exactly when officers are expected to begin issuing the new tickets, but she did not return our call.

Jamaine Dickens, spokesman for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, did not return News Hits’ calls either.

(Are you starting to detect a pattern here? It’s galling. Highly paid public servants who can’t find the time to answer the questions we’re asking on behalf of you, our loyal readers. Oh, well — in journalism, the cold shoulder is the sincerest form of flattery. These people don’t like the questions we ask and they think if they avoid us, we won’t write anything. You are wrong, ostrich-breath. They’re flunking PR 101, because they’re losing an opportunity to get their spin to hundreds of thousands of readers.)

News Hits called the environmental officers and their supervisors at the 13 police precincts to find out if they knew that the new tickets are ready. Officers from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 9th Precincts said, “No.” The other precincts either did not return our calls or could not be reached.

Some officers are frustrated with the new law because they no longer can arrest violators and impound their vehicles, which they say was an effective way to prevent illegal dumping. Now, violators are issued a ticket and must pay a fine. If they don’t, they can be sued.

A hearing was to be held March 19 before the City Council to discuss changes in the law and how it may be amended to address officers’ concerns.

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