We are the Good Guys!

Posted by – Darren Darge, Code Enforcement Officer

Code Enforcement Officers get the reputation of being the “bad guys” that make you cut your lawn, remove that old vehicle, or harass you about the condition of your property.  We are heroes to some and an annoyance to others.  Often, we are used as a tool for one neighbor to go after the other in modern-day Hatfield and McCoy feuds.  However, many do not know that our job is so much more.

Last week, we coordinated a roadside clean up on Collier Road, near Baldwin Road with the assistance of the Oakland County Community Corrections Division – WWAM Program.  The sides of the road has become cluttered with litter and debris presumably from illegal dumping and droppings from trash trucks going to and from the Pontiac Landfill.

Before the Clean Up

The morning of May 30th, we met the WWAM crew at the roadside and the clean up began.  It didn’t take long to complete the job and with the help of Auburn Hills DPS – the collected bags of litter and debris were taken away and properly disposed of.

After the Clean Up

So, this is just one of the many different duties Code Enforcement Officers do around the community.  Our mission is based on the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement. It is founded on the presumption, supported by research, that residents’ perceptions of the safety of their neighborhood is based not necessarily on whether there is a high rate of crime, but on whether it appears to be well-tended.

Now, we would prefer not to be known by some as the “bad guys” who have nothing better to do than to harass the residents and business owners.  But, we are specifically charged by the Auburn Hills City Council with communicating and enforcing the standards set by the community for property maintenance.  We always seek voluntary compliance and pride ourselves with using a fair approach to addressing violations.

What keeps us going after dealing with angry people?  How do we stay motivated?  Well, the many citizens who express their appreciation to us for protecting their neighborhoods is uplifting.  We are not the bad guys, but good people working behind the scenes doing a difficult, but necessary job.