BRAWLEY â€”Â OnÂ August 28, during aÂ warm Sunday afternoon, on-duty Brawley Police Officer Jeremy Schaffer drove by Abe Gonzales Park only to be dismayed at the multitude of trash coveringÂ the park. Pulling over, Schaffer decided to get his hands dirty.
Schaffer had noticed the overflowing trashcans and the pile of litterÂ at their bases. The summer wind had picked up the lighter trash and blown debris throughout the park and into the street.
â€œI thought of the people going and coming from church and hated for them to see how other citizens litter city parks,â€ said Schaffer.
Police units are equipped with large trash bags, so Schaffer called in fellow officer,Â Anthony Carlomagno, and the two in their uniforms began to clean up the mess. The park was littered with beer bottles, empty beer containers, fast food containers, and trash of all sorts.
The previous night saw crowds enjoying the competition between softball teams. The evening games and practices have taken place regularly throughout the summer, and spectators have often brought drinks, snacks, and even alcohol.
â€œYou are not allowed to drink beer in the park, it is a violation. For the most part, we ignore it because people are behaving and enjoying themselves. But we are going to let all the teams know if they donâ€™t clean up after themselves, we will not tolerate the drinking,â€ Schaffer said.
So the two officers began to pick up the trash at Gonzales. Yet after twenty minutes,Â Brawley resident Mike Dickerson saw the officers cleaning the park and stopped them.
â€œHe said he hated to see uniformed officers clean up after people,â€ said Sergeant Daniel Schleyer, who was on dutyÂ thatÂ Sunday and had given his men permission to clean up. â€œHe asked if he could clean the park for them and then they could go back to police work.â€
â€œDickerson said he would not only clean up all the trash, but he would empty the trashcans so dogs would not get into them and litter end up all over the park again,â€ said Schaffer.
Leaving the rest of the workÂ to Dickerson, the two officers went back to their regularÂ police duties. Officer Schaffer drove past the park an hour later.
â€œThe place was immaculate. In fact, it looked like he raked the grass. Not a single piece of trash was to be seen. The trashcans all had new, clean bags and there was no sign any game had been played the night before,â€ said Schaffer.