Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Commissioners OK sheriff’s proposal to deploy inmates in “trash patrol” along county roadways


Alamance County’s board of commissioners didn’t waste the opportunity this week when the local sheriff’s office offered to put the county’s inmates to work picking up trash along area roads.

The commissioners gave a unanimous nod to this proposal on Monday after Alamance County’s sheriff Terry Johnson pitched his plans for this new “trash patrol,” which he hopes will eliminate some of the litter that has accumulated along the county’s roadways.

“I don’t know if ya’ll have had much opportunity to ride over this county, but the trash is terrible . . . People are calling raising Cain with the sheriff’s office. So, I have developed a ‘trash patrol.’” – Alamance County’s sheriff Terry Johnson

“I don’t know if ya’ll have had much opportunity to ride over this county, but the trash is terrible,” Johnson told the county’s governing board. “People are calling raising Cain with the sheriff’s office, so I have developed a ‘trash patrol.’ We have got to do something. It’s embarrassing.”

Johnson told the commissioners that the inmates who are tasked with these cleanups will work up to 20 hours a week under the supervision of a retired detention officer, who previously served as the major in charge of the jail. The retired major, who’ll be accompanied by a couple of current detention officers,  would be compensated for his troubles at a rate of $25 an hour, while the inmates who work under him would receive free food such as pizza as their remuneration.

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“What you find with most of those inmates is that they love to get out in that sun and eat pizza,” he added when commissioner Bill Lashley inquired about the payment these inmates would get. “They have a blast and work hard, too.”

The sheriff noted that his office already has the equipment to proceed with this venture. He added that state law gives him the authority to put inmates to “work on projects to benefit units of state or local government.”

In an interview the following day, some examples given by the sheriff were considerably larger than what most people may think of as “trash.”  Johnson said he and his deputies had observed just earlier that day a washer, dryer, television set, and two bicycles that had been thrown out along the roadside on Coble Mill Road in southern Alamance, in fact, near the sheriff’s home.

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