Cost to 'police' Fort Bragg

By Sgt. 1st Class Caleb BarrieauJuly 16, 2019

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than $1 million is spent on cleaning up Fort Bragg every year and the cost isn't getting any cheaper. So one might ask why do we have a program that costs the government so much just to clean up trash left behind by careless people on Fort Bragg?

Darryl Butler, exterior branch chief of the Operation and Maintenance Division explains, "The Post Police Call has been operating for over 20 years, it has enabled the base to present itself as a professional projection platform for the airborne and special operations community."

Butler also said, "Our roads and access points are some of the first things VIPs and visitors see when entering our base, we need to present ourselves accordingly."

Fort Bragg has grown considerably during the past couple of decades both in size and in numbers, accounting for the substantial cost increase to police up trash.

It has become a full-time job for a large squad size crew of soldiers. Post Police Call worker Spc. Ismail Somai, of the 2-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, explained, "We are humble about the work we do, but it still sucks cleaning up other people's trash."

Somai went onto to say that he felt that there was of lack of pride in people around base to let trash blow around without picking it up.

"It's just laziness!" he exclaimed.

Post Police Call Detail Noncommissioned Officer Staff Sgt. William Kinchen of the 2-508th, Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, talked about his young troopers, "This is a realization for these troopers! By cleaning up our base helps instill a sense of discipline and respect for our military home. ... On the other hand, the detail takes these soldiers away from training with their units to pick up other people's trash."

Kinchen felt that keeping Fort Bragg clean should start with leaders at all levels.

"They need to reinforce the standards not once but constantly," he said.

The cleanup team tossed around many different ideas as to why Fort Bragg has a trash issue. Laziness, lack of pride, and accountability were a few reasons the team exclaimed.

When asked what would be a way fixing the issue, Post Police Call worker Spc. Jordan Kramer shout out, "We should start up a littering hotline to help catch the habitual litterers around base!"

The group agreed that it wasn't a bad idea.

Kramer explained, "We tend to find fast food trash in the same areas all the time, it has to be just a select few people that are littering. ... We need to start speaking up and telling those people that they should take care of their trash properly."

The Post Police Call although an expensive operation will be necessity until all soldiers and civilians on Fort Bragg are able to keep the base clean without further assistance.

Spc. Somai summed up our interview by saying, "Everyone should make it their individual responsibility to help make Fort Bragg a cleaner place, and it starts with picking up that first piece of trash."