Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office looks to garbage men Waste Watchers in preventing terrorism

Waste Management, deputies train 200 workers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - They are tasked with picking up the trash of the community. But sanitation workers in Palm Beach County are now carrying a heavier load of helping prevent terrorism.

They are called Waste Watchers.

More than 200 ordinary looking garbage personnel are being trained by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to help out on the front-lines of preventing the next disaster.

"I want to protect the people of the neighborhood. The people I live close to. It's my job," said Miguel Rodriguez, a trained Waste Watcher.

The Waste Management program is nationwide but only began on Thursday in Palm Beach County and along the Treasure Coast.
"A lot of people think that the garbage man is just there to take out the trash and not too many people think about the good and value they actually add to the community," said Glen Miller of Waste Management.

Miller said since drivers cover the same neighborhoods multiple times a week, the workers are often the best to detect if something is out of place or suspicious.    

"It's funny, but it could happen. Take Boston for example," said Miller.

Waste Watchers do not go through trash, but observe everything going on outside of the bins they pick up on their routes.

"It definitely doesn't go too far. Merely, all we're trying to do is just be an extra set of eyes and ears to help local law enforcement," said Miller.
Miller said drivers are trained to report suspicious activity, not act on it.

Rodriguez said he looks at his title not as a added responsibility, but honorable duty.

"I have to do it. It's my job. I have to protect them also," said Rodriguez.

In addition to Palm Beach County, the program is also starting up along the Treasure Coast.

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