Todd Foreman, ISRI’s director of law enforcement outreach, has been on the job since February. He already has logged thousands of miles on behalf of the recycling industry. Taking up the mantle of Brady Mills, who retired from the association earlier this year, Foreman continues working to build relationships that will help curb materials theft.
Around Memorial Day, Foreman logged about 1,700 miles from his home in Bedford, Va.—where he served on the police force from 1996 to 2022—to Sullivan County, N.Y.; Louisville, Ky.; Nitro, W.Va.; and back to Bedford in one week. “For me, it’s just about meeting members and trying to figure out how I can help them the best, and getting to know them,” Foreman says.
Chip Koplin of Schnitzer Steel, chair of ISRI’s Materials Theft Subcommittee, says Foreman “has really hit the ground running on his outreach with ISRI member firms, law enforcement, and stakeholders to spread the message concerning the industry’s proactive initiatives to prevent materials theft. In addition to the issues of catalytic converter theft, Todd is educating members and these critical stakeholders about recent upticks in copper theft as well as other metals and materials.”
In Sullivan County, Foreman met with members of the sheriff’s office for three hours to discuss state laws and ScrapTheftAlert.com, a free online tool for law enforcement and victims of metals theft to broadcast alerts to recycling facilities and other law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Detailed descriptions and photos can be uploaded, too. Alerts are sent to system users within a 100-mile default radius of the theft location, and this can be expanded by the site administrator if requested.
Foreman also took some attendees of his presentation to meet workers at a nearby Sims Metal facility. “We went over there and spent about an hour at the facility, because for me, it’s about building relationships, putting the local recyclers in touch with their local [law enforcement agencies] so they have that relationship and build that trust between them,” he says.
On May 26, Foreman spoke to ISRI members at the Ohio Valley Chapter’s spring meeting at famed horse racing complex Churchill Downs. “[Some recyclers are] having struggles in that they’ve already got good laws on the books to handle [materials theft], but there’s not enough enforcement. So, they want some help with that,” Foreman says.
The next morning, he drove to West Virginia Cashin Recyclables, a member company that recycles metal, paper, appliances, and vehicles. “They said they had a pretty good relationship with their local law enforcement,” he recalls. “They said they liked the laws that just passed [in 2021] in West Virginia; they felt like [the laws] were working and actually thought it helped their business.”
On June 27-30, Foreman will be in Kansas City, Mo., attending the National Sheriffs’ Association conference. He plans to attend upcoming ISRI board meetings to meet more volunteer leaders and members, and to present a white paper on materials theft at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, which is Oct. 15-18 in Dallas.
“[Foreman’s] experience as a retired police chief has been quite helpful as we interact with individual law enforcement agencies, as well as state sheriff and police chief associations,” Koplin says. “The plans are to continue this outreach to educate all about the prevention of material theft, and heavy promotion of ScrapTheftAlert.com with law enforcement.” Koplin notes Foreman also will collaborate with security and loss-prevention staff at many of the companies and industries that often deal with materials theft to educate them and spread the word about the good things recyclers are doing.
“Todd also is working hard to encourage members to share their positive experiences with the Materials Theft Subcommittee on these issues, including success stories in their own communities, as well as encouraging the members to participate and to become active in the subcommittee,” Koplin says.
Photo courtesy of Todd Foreman. Caption: Members of local law enforcement visit the Sims Metal facility in Ferndale, N.Y., to learn more about recycling.