A group of litter scene investigators crowded in the conference room at the Conway Police Department Friday to ask Chief A. J. Gary questions about litter laws.

Students presented their investigation kit to Gary, which contained sanitary gloves, wipes, flags to mark evidence, and a device to measure the scene parameter. 

Cindy Thacker, principal of Ida Burns Elementary in Conway, said the school is applying for a Litter Free Zone grant through Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

“We want our school to be a litter free campus. There are not many schools in the state that have received this grant and not any in Faulkner County,” Thacker said.

The school’s Litter Free Zone Leadership Team visited with Gary, then went to the Metropolitan National Bank to open an account for the grant, which is in stage two of the application process. 

Students reported that after a litter investigation on Ida Burns’ campus, 97 pieces of evidence, or litter, were obtained.
“When we get our grant, we’ll go back and teach our peers about littering,” Thacker said.

Students began to quiz Gary about laws set in place to penalize litterers. Gary told them of a $1,000 citation set in place for those caught littering. Gary told them that an officer must actually see the crime take place, or if illegal dumping has occurred, officers have investigated documents found in trash in the past, which has led them to find and issue citations to litterers.

Students then began to quiz Gary, asking if he had ever littered.
“In all of my years, I’d say I littered when I was younger, when I didn’t know better. I drove pickup trucks and trash may have flown out of the back,” Gary said.

When a student asked Gary what kinds of things he had ever thrown out the window, he admitted to having once littered a toothpick.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)