CHICAGO (CBS) — Non-violent offenders can help remove snow from fire hydrants and emergency routes across suburban Chicago, under a program being offered by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.

The work done by offenders in the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) is free, Sheriff Tom Dart said in a release. Those involved in the SWAP program have been sentenced to complete hours of community service for low-level, non-violent crimes.

Participants voluntarily meet at a suburban courthouse, typically near their home, and are transported by the sheriff’s office to a work location. They complete light labor in communities based on requests from area schools, towns and non-profit groups.

Since the snowstorm hit one week ago, many SWAP crews have been clearing snow from sidewalks and parking lots at suburban courthouses, among other weather-related duties, according to the sheriff’s office.

Communities in need of assistance can call the SWAP office at 773-674-3832.

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