By Zahra Huber

LANSING (WWJ) – A Michigan sheriff is offering a way for people convicted of non-violent crimes to avoid jail time — by cleaning up roadkill.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth says, starting next week, judges will have the option to sentence people to “DART,” the Dead Animal Recovery Team.

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950, Wrigglesworth said they will load up four offenders at a time in a special trailer.

“They’ll drive around the county and either just pick them up randomly, or go to locations that will be phoned into us, where they can do that,” Wrigglesworth said.

“Each will be issued a pair of gloves, special reflectorized equipment like the deputies wear when you’re on the road, and a scoop shovel. And they’ll be picking up whatever’s squished in the road up to and including deer,” he said.

Wrigglesworth said jailing offenders is costly and this plan is win-win.

“Saves money, keeps the roads clean, and hopefully teaches offenders that whatever they did wrong they shouldn’t do, or they’re going to be scoopin’ up dead skunk guts for the rest of their life kind of a thing, you know,” Wrigglesworth said, adding that the program is basically cost-free to taxpayers.

“Under the inmate booking fee, we took that money to  buy the trailer, the equipment, and so on and so forth. And we’re using an older vehicle in the fleet that was already paid for. So basically the cost of gas is going to be the cost to running this program,” he said.

Sheriff department officials and volunteers will oversee the cleanup efforts.


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