Volunteers needed for litter program

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey and community volunteers are looking for a little help in their efforts to rid the county of roadside trash.
The court has been using a program called Assign-A-Highway in some sentencing matters.
The Assign-A-Highway program requires some defendants convicted of nonviolent crimes to pick up roadside trash as part of their probationary conditions. The court does not use inmates, but rather people serving on probation through Franklin County Community Corrections.
"They are assigned a section of road and they have to keep it cleaned," said Russellville resident Gary Hester, who has worked to have the program implemented throughout the county.
Hester met with county commissioners and the Russellville City Council this week asking for help in making sure that the roadways are cleaned.
"Judge Dempsey assigns areas of roadways for people to clean, but it's hard to monitor each area," Hester said. "What we need are people willing to volunteer to serve as monitors."
Each person assigned to the program is given one mile of roadway that they are responsible for keeping clean. If they do not keep those areas clean, the court can look at that as a probation violation.
"There are several items of probation and this is one condition that we can use," Dempsey said.
So far, Dempsey said, there are about 60 people that have been sentenced to participate in the program.
"It is a very good program that has been successful just about everywhere it's been implemented," he said. "What we need now are people willing to help monitor the roadways so we can make sure it's enforced."
Dempsey said that most people participating in the program are sentenced to clean one mile of roadway close to where they live.
County commissioners agreed Monday to help monitor the roads in their districts, but Hester believes the program will be more successful if county residents will help watch the roads around their homes.
If anyone wants to serve as a monitor for any particular area, they can notify Dempsey or Franklin County Community Corrections.