Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are helping local authorities turn thousands of garbage collectors into a spy force that reports to the police.
Reports say 100 Waste Management employees have already gone through a training program called Waste Watch, CBS 6 Albany/WRGB reported on Friday.
"Because our job is collecting trash from local neighborhoods and businesses, we are a useful resource to identify illegal activity, or to help prevent a minor mishap from turning into a dangerous situation," said Ken Bevis, district manager of Waste Management in Albany, New York.
Bevis added that all Waste Management drivers, helpers, and repair technicians have been trained to look out for suspicious activities and respond in the event of an emergency.
Officials believe that garbage collectors who go through the same route every day are able to recognize situations that are not normal.
Police hope that they will be able to help keep streets clear of crime as well. But not everyone is sold on the idea.
Waste Watch is already active in 100 communities across the United States. The total figure of informants could already number at least 10,000 nationwide.
Critics say the program is an example of how the United States is turning into an East German-style informant society.