Solid waste collectors and police collaborate to fight crime

Solid waste collectors and police collaborate to fight crime

The men and women who pick up our trash travel on every road and alley in the city of Spokane. Now, the Spokane Police Department says it can use the solid waste drivers to help fight crime.

It’s called “Your city. Your safety.” The city says it’s a new collaboration aimed at helping our community.

On an early Saturday morning, Solid Waste Collection drivers learned how they can help the Spokane Police Department.

“Basically a better relationship with the Police Department and helping to crack down on some other crime in the neighborhood and the communities,” said Jason Miller, with Solid Waste Collection.

Miller says the Solid Waste Collection already notices things other people may not see.

“I’ve reported a stolen vehicle that we found up on the south hill,” Miller said.

And today, he learned how to use his time behind the wheel to help keep people safe.

“Our drivers are now trained on what to look for on the streets and how to report that,” said Ken Gimpel with the Public Works Division. “That’ll come back to our dispatchers, and then our dispatchers will respond to Crime Check.”

They’ll report crimes in progress and suspicious activity, even request welfare checks at homes where they no longer see activity.

“They’re taught to use their intuition, when they see something that’s odd or out of place, maybe that’s something that should be reported,” Gimpel said.

Gimpel says waste collectors are the perfect candidates for this job.

“These guys are on every street and every alley throughout the city every week, 52 times a year,” he explained. “They know their customers, they know their neighborhoods, they know when something’s out of place.”

And Miller looks forward to the opportunity to help the community in a new way.

“I think it will help out with crime and stuff like that and it also shows we do care about our community and the people who live here,” he said.