This past October, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office participated in the latest training of Waste Management’s drivers in its community safety program Waste Watch. Through this program, company drivers act as an extra set of eyes and ears for sheriff’s deputies, police, fire department and emergency services, reporting emergencies or any suspicious activity that may take place during their routes.
“Because our job is collecting trash and recycling daily from local neighborhoods and businesses, we are a useful resource to identify suspicious activity, or serve as a preventative measure that may keep a minor mishap from turning into a dangerous situation,” said Todd Peres, Senior District Manager for Waste Management of Charlotte County. “Safety is our number one priority, and Charlotte County and its residents will benefit from our program in keeping the community safe.”
Waste Management drivers, many of whom are new hires since the program was first launched locally in 2009, are being trained in cooperation with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and the Punta Gorda Police Department.
“We are very pleased to partner with Waste Management on this very important program to assist our deputies in keeping Charlotte County safe and secure,” said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell. “Neighborhood watch programs are a key part of community engagement, and Waste Management is leading the way in business support for our law enforcement activities.”
Waste Management employees have undergone proper training on what to look for and how to respond in the case of an emergency or unusual activity. Should anything occur while on their routes, drivers will have the necessary tools to act quickly in communicating that information to 911 or their dispatcher in the case of a non-life-threatening emergency.
As members of the community, Waste Management drivers are familiar with their routes and are good candidates to spot anything out of the ordinary, especially when they are trained on what to look for.
“We always stress to our residents that they are the experts on what is “normal” for their street, their place of business, and the places that they frequent,” stated Katie Heck, Public Information Officer for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. “Especially around the holidays, it’s important to keep an eye out for criminals looking for opportunities such as unlocked vehicles or open garage doors. When you see something or someone suspicious, report it.”
The non-emergency number to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is 941-639-0013. In the event of an emergency, always dial 911.