Dorothy Packard was disappointed she didn't get a badge.
She was one of almost 100 Augusta Council of Garden Clubs members that Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength swore under oath as litter watchdogs in their counties of residence including Richmond, Columbia, Lincoln and Aiken.
The Garden Club of Georgia, in cooperation with the Georgia Broadcasters Association is spearheading a statewide litter campaign to raise awareness on the importance of litter prevention and control.
"We are concerned about (litter) at all times. The program will hopefully make the public more aware of what we expect from citizens of our county," Pat Slater, the outgoing Augusta Council president, said at the awards and recognition banquet Wednesday at Augusta Country Club.
Georgia House Bill 1343, passed by the state legislature in 2001, allows counties, law enforcement agencies or municipalities to appoint any U.S. citizen of good moral character with no felony convictions to enforce local anti-littering laws. This law is the premise that Strength swore in the the litter deputies at the banquet - members of 24 area garden clubs.
"We have more eye son the street with citizens than with law enforcement officers," Strength said.
Each woman, who took the oath, including members of Willow Wood and Cherokee Rose garden clubs in Columbia County, is to take note of any litterers they see and report them to officials. Strength, who also administered the oath to Columbia County deputies, gave out numbers to call to report litter bugs. Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle was unable to attend the ceremony.
"I would much rather have a lady working for me than 10 guys," Strength joked. "I definitely support what you ladies are doing."
The litter watchdogs are a part of a larger plan that aims to appeal to the pride and environment, appeal for stronger enforcement, educate at the elementary school level and give warnings about health consequences of litter.
The deputies are encouraged to get a vehicle tag number for reporting, but never attempt to chase or apprehend litter offenders.
"We can do wonders with just a tag number," Strength said.
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