DeKalb Co. residents become code enforcement volunteers - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DeKalb Co. residents become code enforcement volunteers

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

DeKalb County residents who are tired of dilapidated neighborhoods can now take matters into their own hands.  Through a new program, they can become neighborhood ambassadors, and learn to issue citations to fellow residents for code violations.  

Resident Marguerite Girard tells FOX 5 when she moved to DeKalb County 30 years ago, it was the place to be.  She wants it to be like that again, so she says she signed up to be a volunteer in the code enforcement department—which is also known as neighborhood ambassadors.  

"I believe people are sick to death of their property values declining," Girard said.  "All the money that they put into these homes is gone."

DeKalb County has just 25 code enforcement officers to cover 700,000 residents.  The volunteers go through a two-day training and are eventually deputized to spot common violations.  DeKalb County spokesman Andrew Baker said they teach them how to communicate with residents who are in violation, and show them what they can and can't do.  Their goal is to give the volunteers a clear picture of what they're doing to improve the quality of neighborhood life.  

Girard says as volunteers, they are looking for things like weeds and grass that are over 12 inches tall, cars that may be on block, vehicles that are parked in the grass and poor property maintenance.  

Neighborhood ambassadors can tear down illegal signs, but all other violations are documented and turned over to the paid enforcement officers, who serve as a pair of eyes with the goal of spotting eyesores.  

So far, more than 100 residents have graduated from the neighborhood ambassador class.  DeKalb County officials say they will take all they can get.

For more information on how to sign up to be a neighborhood ambassador, click here for a link to the county's website.

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