Memphis Asks Citizens To Be Volunteer Code Inspectors

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The city of Memphis' war on blight demands more code enforcement officers than tax payers can afford. The Wharton administration has asked community leaders and concerned citizens to become volunteer code inspectors.

MORE: FOX13 Fight's Blight

"Know this area, been here 40 years," said Samuel Hamilton, a volunteer code enforcement officer who calls Whitehaven home.

Hamilton wants his neighborhood to remain middle class and will invest his time to maintain a certain quality of life.

"If we are going to live in the city, we might as well rid the city of any blight that is in the city," he said.

That's it right here."

Hamilton acts a volunteer citizen code inspector, one of 23 in the Bluff City.

"Looks a like a salvage yard," Hamilton said, who has been trained to identify suspicious businesses like a possible illegal junk yard. He documents possible violations and forwards them to the Department of Public Works for action.

"We can take pictures and we have taken pictures," he said. "Never on the property ... Vehicles declared a public nuisances. I don't know of anybody who wants old cars in their neighborhood."

"It helps tremendously in being proactive in fighting blight and code violations in those areas that do not have a lot of blight but we want to stop it from growing, stop it from spreading out," added Otis Tidwell, manager of code enforcement.

With  volunteers working in every neighborhood, the city has practically doubled its code enforcement without increasing the budget. Giving up fours a week Hamilton not only shows community pride but can help protect it.

"We are proud of our community," he said. "We want to keep it safe. We want to keep it clean."

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