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Scott Frisbie
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Brenda Morris
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Weed Removal

Some may wonder why the ACHD staff is out in the field clearing debris from roadways and alleys with Ada County inmates. The ACHD partners with the Ada County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) as part of a program to beautify Ada County.

The Labor Detail (LD) is a work crew made up of low-risk, nonviolent offenders. LD individuals do not spend the night in jail. After the workday, they return to their homes.
(from the adasheriff.org web site)

In August 2012, ACHD created a county-wide plan to touch each area of the county for cleaning and weed removal. The county was divided into four zones with the intent of working through the entire county at least once per year.

Each zone is further divided by type of work which allows the crew leader to create coordinated work plans that involve weed removal, alley cleaning, cleaning of arterial sidewalks, ponds, islands, work on miscellaneous right-of-way, and graffiti removal.

While LD crews are tasked with duties within the designated zone, they are also utilitzed by ACHD for other tasks including:

  • Snow and sand removal from sidewalks
  • Weed removal ahead of the crack sealing process
  • Chip removal from sidewalks during the chip seal season
  • Special projects and events
  • Respond to other hazards and safety concerns in the right-of-way
  • Pick up of Adopt-a-Highway bags and debris

For more on the program, click to visit the Ada County Sherriff's Office web site.

How the Program Started

The ACHD was fielding a lot of calls from the public wanting to know what could be done about the overwhelming weed problem in Ada County. In April of 1998, the ACHD and ACSO started the Labor Detail (LD) program. Realizing that the ACHD did not have the correct equipment to accommodate the new program, the ACHD purchased a new Pacmac 12000 compaction trailer.

The Pacmac 12000 compressed what would be an enormous mound of waste, into a small, manageable pile. The piece of equipment saved countless person hours by greatly reducing trips to the landfill. On April 6, 1998 after weed eaters, hand tools and an equipment trailer were purchased, the ACHD inmate program began.

Since the program's conception, addtional equipment has been purchased, allowing the program to put more LD crews on the ground.

Benefits to the Community

The ACHD staff supervises approximately four vans of LD workers, five days a week. The crews work seven to eight hour shifts. By using inmate labor to perform weed, debris and sidewalk snow removal in ACHD's rights-of-way, the ACHD and ACSO have saved Ada County taxpayers approximately $200,000 per year in saved wages alone.

Ninety percent of all the weeds, tree limbs and wood (organic debris) removed by the inmates is taken to the landfill recycling center to be used for livestock bedding.

Both the ACHD and the ACSO are pleased about the longstanding success of this unique program.