COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT PARTNERS WITH WASTE MANAGEMENT ON NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY PROGRAM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010— Cook County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. to train drivers to report suspicious activities and emergency situations to law enforcement authorities, Sheriff Tom Dart announced today.
Waste Management’s Waste Watch program assists local police and emergency services agencies by equipping drivers with the resources needed to report anything out of the ordinary while on their collection routes. In addition to training by a Sheriff’s Police patrol officer and Waste Management security personnel, the company provides its drivers with radios and mobile phones to use in the field.
The theme of the Waste Watch program is “observe and report”. Waste Management drivers trained through the joint effort are on the lookout for activity that may be unusual or suspicious as they travel their residential and commercial routes, such as methamphetamine labs or grow houses. Large chemical canisters, empty barrels or even signs of suspicious activity around known vacant houses are just some of the ways crews are expected to help serve as an extra set of eyes and ears in the community. In addition to watching out for indicators of drug activity, Waste Management drivers will report suspicious vehicles that appear to be stolen. Because drivers may stop at as many as 1,000 homes in a day on a residential collection route, they will serve as a useful, supplemental resource and an extra set of eyes for authorities.
Waste Management provides collection services in more than a dozen communities in southwestern Cook County and has residential waste and recycling collection contracts in Orland Park, Orland Hills and Palos Hills. The Company serves approximately 27,000 households, 84,000 residents, and 3,000 commercial customers in the southwest suburbs. Because Waste Management drivers provide services in these communities on a daily basis, they have a strong familiarity with the area, and are in a position to help report possible criminal activity.
Waste Management has been recognized by the National Sheriff’s Association for its Waste Watch program. The company’s Corporate Security Services and Community Relations organization developed Waste Watch in 2004 and the program is in place in more than 100 communities nationwide.