THE ISSUE: Sheriff makes a point.

OUR OPINION: A good message to reinforce.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

Sheriff Mike Prendergast was driving through Inverness recently when a motorist in front of him threw a cigarette butt out the window.

Many law enforcement professionals are way too busy to pay attention to a minor infraction of the law, but Sheriff Prendergast decided that he needed to make a point.

The sheriff got out of his vehicle, approached the litterbug and told him he had a choice — "Either pick up the cigarette or you get a citation."

The motorist got out of his own car and picked up the butt. Fast.

Another motorist waiting at the traffic light caught the whole thing on a cell phone video and posted it on Facebook. The video went wild.

Law-abiding residents are sick and tired of those who just ignore littering. Our roadways are covered in trash and many side roads have become informal dumps. The lack of enforcement sends the wrong message to those lazy folks who refuse to do the right thing.

Littering is wrong and it reduces the quality of life of everyone who lives here. Throwing a lit cigarette out of a car can be more than just trash — it can be a fire hazard. Right now, we are starting the dry season in Florida, and every week we are reading about brush fires that erupt and destroy acreage and homes. Careless motorists who do not think twice about tossing their cigarettes out the window start many of those fires.

Therefore, we say "Good Job" to Sheriff Prendergast for taking the time out to make a point. And we’d love to see the arrest of some of those litterbugs like the ones on Pine Ridge Boulevard, who last week dumped a stack of old mattresses on the side of the road.

A little bit of enforcement can go a long way in reminding people that there are consequences for being a slob. Citrus County has become a trashy place because some citizens just don’t care. Getting a ticket or being arrested would help them care a little more.

Sheriff Prendergast demonstrated some aggressive law enforcement and most of us appreciate the effort. We would like to see more his deputies doing the same thing.

County commissioners can help the cause by implementing a mandatory garbage ordinance in the county requiring that every household get trash service.

We have to clean this place up, one cigarette butt at a time.