"Waste Watch" allows waste management drivers to help protect th - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"Waste Watch" allows waste management drivers to help protect the public

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KENNEWICK, WA - 20 local waste management drivers are now prepared to act as another set of eyes and ears for public safety thanks to a program called ''Waste Watch'' hosted in partnership with the Kennewick Police Department.

"We're out there, we're in areas that we can really help the communities," said Mike Slack, Waste Watch Route Manager.

Think of it as a neighborhood watch on wheels.

"There are different things that happen around here... there are national assets that happen that are around here... so we want to protect those," said Mike Blatman, Crime Prevention Specialist.

The 1-hour training was led by Chris Spilsbury, Director of Security for Waste Management. Drivers learn the do's and dont's of Waste Watch protocol, and how to properly report suspicious activity to law enforcement. They are then tested before becoming officially certified.

So why train garbage truck drivers? For one, they cover a lot of ground and they do it at times when crime often occurs. Steve Thompson, who's been driving with Waste Management for 18 years now, says he has seen and reported several incidents. Now that he's Waste Watch trained, he says he feels encouraged.

"Now there's this back up training that we have to call it in," said Thompson.

Waste Watch was started in the pacific northwest 12 years ago and is now active in over 100 communities across the nation.