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Ridealong reveals code enforcement tactics
by Christine Fonville
April 15, 2014 03:04 PM | 2518 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye. Henry County code enforcement officer Barbara Dribnak writes a report.
Staff / Katherine Frye. Henry County code enforcement officer Barbara Dribnak writes a report.
When it comes to handling suburban squabbles — neighbors complaining about each other’s properties, an old house becoming an eyesore, evictions and trash-dumping — Henry County code enforcement officers Barbara Dribnak and Hope King have seen it all.

Recently, the Neighbor caught up with these officers and rode along to see and experience exactly what a typical day was like for those keeping the county clean.

And, as we soon learned, it turned out to be a very dirty job.

The first case Dribnak handled was an extraction in Stockbridge.

“An extraction is when someone has lost their mortgage and the sheriff’s department or a property preservation company comes out and removes all of the belongings from the house,” she said.

Furniture, appliances, clothing and toys covered the front and back yards and the driveway.

Dribnak said the site of an extraction often reveals the desperation of a family who had to leave everything behind, but the clutter will become a nuisance for the neighbors who remain.

Dribnak’s next case involved a dilapidated house that could be hazardous.

On the property, she found an old propane tank that appeared full, causing a potential fire hazard.

Dribnak and other code enforcement officers take photos and write notes at every scene, as some cases become court disputes.

Perhaps the messiest case of the day involved illegal dumping on commercial property in the Fairview area.

Dribnak put on plastic gloves and tore through bags of garbage to search for evidence.

Although it was grueling, she found items that can identify the perpetrator.

Dribnak said about 60 percent of dumping cases get resolved.

“It’s not a glamorous job, but seeing something new every day and being able to resolve cases for people in my community is the rewarding part,” she said.

Later, King called on a resident who had complaints about neighbors throwing yard clippings and old tree limbs onto her property.

Although the items are biodegradable, it is still considered illegal dumping.

King had to write citations and hand them to the caller’s neighbors as diplomatically as possible.

“Every once in a while I encounter a rude or angry person, but I have to say that most residents in Henry County are very cooperative,” she said.

To learn more about the county’s code enforcement, visit

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