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Sheriff's Office clears out homeless encampment near stream in Westminster

A stream side location in Westminster that the Carroll County Sheriff's Office said has been used as an encampment for homeless people for the last two years was cleaned out on Tuesday morning, the Sheriff's Office said.

A press release from the Sheriff's Office said County Commissioner Richard Rothschild, detention personnel from the sheriff's office, inmates on work release, and the Carroll County Facilities Bureau began the process of cleaning up the site Tuesday.

Maj. Nicholas Plazio of the Sheriff's Office Field Services Bureau said about eight people had been staying at the site, which was located along Route 27 under the Route 140 overpass in Westminster.

According to Plazio, Tuesday's work crew consisted of two dump truck drivers, a pair of supervisors and five individuals on work release. They used a skid-loader to load eight truckloads of waste.

"It was all taken to the dump and destroyed," Plazio said of debris at the site. "We'll maintain regular patrol checks so it does not start again."

On the other side of the stream, the trash pulled from the woods is currently piled in one place, and will be removed in the coming days when skid-loader access to that side is found.

The office said people had been using the area as an encampment for nearly two years, but "complaints from concerned citizens regarding the huge amount of trash and unsanitary conditions required their removal."

Before the operation began, the sheriff's office said it had been working with the individuals to secure housing from relatives, shelters "and other available resources."

Plazio said he and Rothschild went to the location on Friday, Feb. 24, to tell the individuals who stayed there that they had to move on.

One of the eight was transferred to social service agencies, though the rest declined.

"They're out of there," Plazio said. "The place is clean as a whistle. It's immaculate."

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