Punching the Clock: Up to Code

After spending the day working with City Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lawrence, I came to one conclusion: There is no way he gets paid enough to do what he has to do on a daily basis.

At 11 a.m., I met up with Lawrence and he showed me a notebook filled with inspections and complaints we would need to get to that day. The good news for me, he said, was that we weren’t scheduled to go to any of the homes that were infested with cockroaches.

Most of the complaints and inspections had been phoned in within the last 24 hours. “The sooner you get to a place, the better it is,” Lawrence said.

Normally, Lawrence and part-time Ordinance Inspection Officer Dale Smith travel by bicycle, racking up between 16 and 20 miles a day on the bikes. But since my own bicycle was out of commission – flat tire – we decided to take the car.

For the rest of the day, we traveled non-stop. Lawrence performed inspections for water lines, furnaces and new porches. And even though he joked that he rarely escapes a basement without bumping his head, he explained that part of his job was great because it allows him to see the good things people are doing to improve their neighborhoods.

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