In a posting dated August 22, a caution was issued that “sign removal activity has been interpreted by the sheriff’s department as theft.” After a lot of phone calls and blind leads, recent meetings with top law enforcement officials here have confirmed that removal of plastic signs from the public right of way is not illegal.
While the earlier posting may have caused concern for some, and may have given temporary aid and comfort to street spammers, the caution was given based on an actual incident with a law enforcement officer. It is now obvious the officer was misinformed.
Unfortunately, the reality is that in many areas, government officials and law enforcement officers may not be knowledgeable or informed about laws and/or ordinances pertaining to plastic signs placed in the right of way nor about a citizen’s rights to deal directly with this litter found along our roadways.
It is important to keep in mind that laws dealing with a citizen’s rights could differ from one part of the country and from one jurisdiction to another, and one may be well advised to consult with senior law enforcement if there is any doubt. In this case, that was a useful and beneficial experience.