In what the ever-clever mayor of Albuquerque has dubbed “the poop scoop troops,” a team of city employees are addressing the growing problem of human feces building up on the streets and sidewalks of Downtown.
“It’s essentially the same approach Mayor Keller has taken to dealing with crime and homelessness,” city spokeshuman Gloria Duke said. “If you can’t solve the problem itself, just create a new department and clean up the mess before people get too upset.”
The Poop Scoop Troops, or PST, only work mornings.
“We’re not flying by the seat of our pants,” Duke said, apparently no pun intended. “We researched this. It’s science.”
According to Duke, the city spent $120,000 on a study that found that most of the human feces discovered on the sidewalks of Downtown were dropped in the early morning hours.
“They’re like regular people. They wake up — maybe not in a bed in a home, but somewhere — and they…well…they have to go. So we’ll be there.”
The troops are deployed to scoop the poop in seven major “Downtown defecation hot spots” identified in the study.
On a recent Sunday morning on 4th and Central, the PST showed punctuality and professionalism when they arrived early for their shift.
“We had to wait for a few of our unhomed residents to finish their business,” PST forewoman Rebecca Rosebud Stevens said, “but they appreciated our patience.”
It’s dirty business, cleaning up human feces off the streets, “but as they say, somebody’s gotta do it,” Stevens said.
Asked if the mayor has considered discouraging Downtown dumping by issuing citations for open defecation violations rather than cleaning up after people, Duke waved off the question.
“No, no. We don’t victimize people who are already victims. We help them,” she said.
“We give them food when they are hungry and medical attention when they need it. Clothes, cell phones. Packages of M&Ms for dessert at the food shelter. These people don’t have a pot to piss in. Literally. We don’t throw the book at them. We throw the TP roll to them.”
— City of Albuquerque Spokeshuman Gloria Duke