Code enforcement agencies learning from each other

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - When code enforcement comes around, it's about more than putting up a sign.

Code enforcement's workload piled up after Hurricane Michael, but code enforcement organizations from all over the Panhandle are meeting to lighten the load. (WJHG/WECP)

"You know make it a better place for people to live," said Cheryl Pingitore, a retired code enforcement officer.

Pingitore had a long career in the industry in Fort Lauderdale. Most recently, she's retired from Washington County as a code enforcement officer.

"I've been through Andrew, I've been through Wilma," said Pingitore.

Now she's one of many bringing her knowledge on code to the Panhandle Association of Code Enforcement.

Agencies from as far as Ft. Walton beach to Callaway get together once a quarter to learn new tricks of the trade.

"After Hurricane Michael, things have changed just a little bit. We kinda have to revamp things on how our approach is," said President of PAOCE, Cecilia James.

Officers say swapping ideas through PAOCE is creating a quicker recovery.

"The city had talked about doing, they were inventorying damaged homes so we started doing that as well to have a jump on it," said Bay County Code Enforcement Manager, Kathi Ashman.

While code enforcement officials tell us these meetings are extremely beneficial for disaster recovery, they also say they can use help from the community.

"There are many, many properties that we have that we haven't have any contact from the property owner, don't be afraid to call us. We still every day are looking for resources for people that have Hurricane Michael damage," said Ashman.

Code enforcement officers say with the help of residents, reminders of the category five hurricane will be a thing of the past for many.

"We've got to outreach to the community and help the community, guide them in a direction to where they can get their properties back to somewhat normal," said Pingitore.

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