A new program designed to give community service workers a way to complete court-mandated service hours is clearing roadsides throughout the county.
Workers have collected between 80 and 120 bags of trash each week since October and painted 150 fire hydrants on the way to fulfilling their community service requirements.
Reggie Forrester, court administrator for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, said the program, a collaboration between the county, court system and local probation offices, is a win for everyone involved.
“The issue was many community service workers work full-time jobs during the week and are only available to do their community service hours on Saturdays,” he said.
Those workers noted the lack of approved community service agencies open on Saturdays.
While the county can use help at locations such as the senior center during the week, only the park system and transfer station are open on Saturdays.
“It became evident over the past year or so that there is a lack of locations for community service to be done on Saturdays and on weekends,” said Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner.
Using money from its solid waste fund, the county hired a part-time corrections officer to oversee community service workers on Saturday clean-up projects.
Workers can log their hours without missing time from their jobs, while the county benefits from the free labor.
“It’s proven very successful,” Tanner said. “We’ve been able to remove a lot of debris from the roadways, which include scrap tires and other items.”
Forrester said the court system is pleased with the results.
“This program is working really well,” he said, adding that Superior Court Judge Jason Deal has begun assigning workers to the program.
Tanner said residents have also noticed the impact.
“If a citizen does have a concern about trash on their road, they should contact us,” he said. “We can coordinate to make sure their road gets on the list. And as soon as we can get around to it, we’ll be glad to get out and clean up the road.”