From left, Farmington Police Department Explorer members Alma Chavez and Kylie Miller pick up yard waste on Monday from a home on 39th Street in
From left, Farmington Police Department Explorer members Alma Chavez and Kylie Miller pick up yard waste on Monday from a home on 39th Street in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Early on Monday morning, Ian Wilson swept the driveway of a home near the corner of 39th Place and 39th Street in Farmington.

"It's volunteer (work), and it's my day off," said the 18-year-old as he gathered clippings of nearby weeds.

Wilson was among a group of 10 people who cleaned the yards of three homes on Labor Day, helping the homeowners comply with city ordinances for residential yard cleanliness. The group included members of Explorer, a Farmington Police Department program that introduces young people to police work.

The homes selected are owned by elderly people who don't have families to assist them with yard cleanup or who lack the extra income needed to hire help, said Todd Johnston, city code compliance supervisor with the police department.

Members of the Farmington Police Department’s Explorer program and Farmington police clean a property along 39th Street in Farmington on Monday.
Members of the Farmington Police Department's Explorer program and Farmington police clean a property along 39th Street in Farmington on Monday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

"We wanted to help the community, and this is a good start to that," he said.

Johnston was joined in the cleanup by another compliance officer, two Farmington police officers and six Explorers.

The group started cleaning yards shortly after 7 a.m., and Johnston expected the other two yards to keep the group busy for the entire day.

The homeowner of the first home declined to be interviewed, but she said she was thankful and wanted the group to get all of the credit.

After the first home was cleaned up, more than a dozen black trash bags filled the back of one pickup truck.

"It's a great feeling," said Alma Chavez. "For us to be out here, it feels good."

The 20-year-old is a sergeant in the Explorer program, which is designed for young people who want to pursue a career in law enforcement, said Officer Lili Monclova, who is also an Explorer supervisor. Participants range from 14 to 20 years old.

"They cover the same thing as they do in the police academy," Monclova said.

Chavez, who plans to become a police officer, said the program develops leadership and teamwork skills.

"That's been my goal since I was six years old," she said, of working as a police officer.

The goal for the day, however, was community service. And Wilson said he enjoyed helping the community.

"It's always good to help someone out who can't help themselves," he said. "The world would be a lot better if people could take time out and help someone out, even if it's as simple as cleaning up a yard," he said.

Erny Zah is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and ezah@daily-times.com. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.