The Lawrence County roadside cleanup crew—comprised of work release inmates from the Lawrence County Jail—has collected about 1,115 bags of trash along seven county roads since the program’s inception in June, according to Commissioner Kyle Pankey.
Pankey, who recently took on duties of overseeing the Lawrence County Solid Waste Department, said the litter crew has completed pick-ups along County Roads 203, 150, 170, 167, 164, 217 and 221.
“The litter crew is getting ready to start cleaning up on County Road 460,” Pankey said during a commission meeting on Friday.
The litter crew was formed following a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and the Solid Waste Department earlier this year to utilize inmate labor to clean county roads and assist the solid waste department.
Sheriff Max Sanders said his department is very selective about the inmates who voluntarily participate.
“The inmates get credit for fines by participating in the crew,” Sanders said. “We’ve typically got four inmates working out there at one time, sometimes maybe less.”
Sanders said a corrections officer first screens inmates who are approved for the crew before they attend orientation and safety training.
The department partnered with the Lawrence County Solid Waste Department to determine where the crew is needed most, Sandlin said.
“We’re hitting the county by districts. Everyone will probably see inmate workers in their area of the county at some point throughout the program,” he said.
County Administrator Heather Dyar said Keep Alabama Beautiful covers other supplies like trash bags and reflective vests, but Pankey said the county furnishes other items like Gatorade and safety gloves.
Last month the county spent about $806 before shipping costs on such supplies, he said. In Friday’s meeting, the Commission granted Pankey permission to purchase supplies online through Amazon to save on shipping costs.
“We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback regarding the litter crew and their accomplishments,” said Pankey. “We’re trying to save money where we can, and we’ve come too far to see the work undone by litter violators in these places we’ve already been.”
Pankey said dumpster sites throughout the county are also points of interest for the cleanup effort. The Commissioner said security cameras are being placed at dumpsters to deter dumpster diving and excess dumping.
“We’ve had a problem with people bringing trash or old furniture by the trailer load, and if the dumpster is full, they’ll leave the trash sitting out by the bin,” said Pankey.
He said any future violators of dumpster regulations would be fined and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“These aren’t new laws. We’re just doing what we can to enforce what’s already in place,” said Pankey. “We want to take pride in our county and do what we can to keep it clean.”