By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal

The Winston County Sheriff’s Department received a present this week from the Mississippi Department of Transportation in the form of a vehicle on May 22.

Winston County Sherriff Jason Pugh and District 4 Supervisor Gloria Turnipseed were on hand at the Winston-Choctaw Correctional Facility to receive a 2004 Dodge Caravan from MDOT Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Mat Dunn. The vehicle was given to the sheriff’s department to help with their Inmate Litter Removal Program (ILRP) , which uses prisoners to remove litter from state maintained highways.

With the ILRP, the law enforcement agency provides the manpower, and the MDOT agrees to furnish trash bags, safety vests, gloves and advisory signs. The MDOT also reimburses locals for other costs including the salary of the deputy/officer assigned to the program and reimbursement to the local government for travel expenses incurred in transporting inmates to and from the work site.

The vehicle was sold for $1 to the sheriff’s department in conjunction with the partnership that the MDOT and local law enforcement have with their ILRP. Vehicles used for this program are MDOT vehicles that have reached their maximum service life

Dunn stated that the agreement between the two agencies reaps mutual benefits, as well as maintaining a stellar county image. “The partnership is very beneficial and cost efficient for the county,” Dunn said.

In 2011, counties and municipalities in Northeast Mississippi taking part in the Inmate Litter Program removed over 28,000 bags of litter from the state highways in Mississippi.