Milwaukee police officers out in force with trash bags

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Being a police officer can be a messy job at times, but not usually like this.  On Saturday, May 18th, members of the Milwaukee Police Department fanned out throughout the city to help clean up neighborhoods.

"We're owing this so people can feel safe in their neighborhoods.  The first sign of disorder we know is the litter," says officer Scott Lesniewski.

In the Washington Park neighborhood, the cleanup was organized by some of the newest members of the force.  Just 5 months after graduation, rookie cops Christopher Moore and Dana Rodriguez scoured a block near 33rd and Vliet.

"You get to see the good people in the neighborhood.  They'll let you know what's going on.  It helps us a lot," says officer Moore.

The cops say while it feels good to make the neighborhoods look cleaner, their experience meeting the neighbors they serve is an even greater benefit of the day.

"The community helps a lot.  We're not going to be able to solve anything unless people come forward and talk with us.  We want to make the neighborhood safe and we can do that with the community," says officer Rodriguez.

Milwaukee Police sent crews all over the city and held community barbeques and lunches in many of the communities they serve.

"We're part of the neighborhood.  We are part of the city and we all have to take pride on our city," says officer Lesniewski.