Trash truck drivers get trained to become extra set of eyes to help keep neighborhoods safe

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OGDEN — Waste Management trash truck drivers based out of Ogden woke up early to help keep communities clean. It’s already a tough enough job, but on Friday morning, they added another skill to their resume: becoming certified Waste Watch drivers.

The Waste Watch Driver Training Program was created by the Waste Management company in 2004 and teaches the trash collectors how to become the eyes and ears for the community.

“Part of our safety culture is awareness,” said Brad Kloos with Waste Management. “We figured since (truck drivers are) already out there being aware ... to utilize that to help the police department to monitor what’s going on in the community.”

The workers watch a 15-minute video explaining the do's and don’ts of helping keep watch in the neighborhoods they serve and how to report an emergency.

Roy police officer Stuart Hackworth said his police department really appreciates the help.

“We can always say the more eyes we have on the street to report any activity to us is the best thing we can ask for,” he said.

Vickie Zabriskie has been working for Waste Management for over 18 years and has grown fond of the area she works in.

"I really like being in Roy and tend to get to know your customers, “ she said. “The routes are pretty much the same. We stay in the same areas."

The training helped prepare Zabriskie for the day she helped save someone's life while on the job.

"A lady was being attacked by a couple of aggressive dogs and she was bitten by one and I called 911,” she said. “I'm really glad that I was there and her son actually came to thank me for being there to help his mom out.”

And while Zabriskie doesn't live in the city where she picks up trash, she can't help but care for the neighborhoods she knows so well.

"It's kind of (pointing to her heart) right here a little,” she laughs.

Similar training has taken place at Waste Management hauling sites across Utah this week. Since 2004, Waste Watch has grown to more than 270 communities nationwide.

Contributing: Xoel Cardenas

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