Related Link:
National Sheriff’s Association Triad

Law enforcement officers and older citizens may not often have the opportunity to interact and get to know each other. The elderly may only have contact with officers when there is a problem — not always a time for the officer or the senior to appreciate each other’s fine points and a possible time for impatience, misunderstanding and miscommunication.

This endeavor is intended to implement a comprehensive crime prevention and recognition program for older persons. It will serve as a nucleus of communication, services and training designed to enhance the quality of life for our senior citizens. This approach will provide an atmosphere of encouragement to seniors who are victims of crimes through counseling and victims’ compensation referral; identify seniors and their individual needs through one-on-one law enforcement contact and the completion of crime prevention surveys; and, provide training to law enforcement personnel in proper techniques and sensitivities in dealing with the elderly.

To provide better law enforcement service to our community’s older residents and to make senior citizen-law enforcement officer encounters a more satisfying experience for both, this program will arrange for each to learn about some characteristics, roles and limitations of the other. Employing the theory that familiarity and education lead to better understanding, the following are our intended goals:

  1. Enhance the quality of life for senior citizens in Limestone County through improving the level of service to elderly victims by encouraging self-reporting of offenses; offering support services which may include counseling; and, providing assistance and referrals for monetary assistance through crime victims’ compensation.
  2. Identify seniors and their individual needs through one-on-one contact with law enforcement, and the completion of assessment surveys. This will encompass existing support groups such as AARP as well as organizing local volunteers to assist in the implementation of this program.
  3. Train seniors in criminal activity recognition specifically dealing with frauds and scams, purse snatching, pick pocketing, theft and burglary, gang activity, drug sales, elder abuse, etc., as well as in other areas such as disaster preparedness. Support “neighbor” watch and encourage seniors to watch out for one another, banding together to achieve their common goal. Provide a means of reporting criminal activities to law enforcement and a means of compiling this intelligence for follow-up by the respective agency. Utilize the exchange of information between law enforcement and older persons, to reduce unwarranted fear of crime.
  4. Solicit seniors to establish a means of training law enforcement personnel in necessary techniques and sensitivities in dealing with senior citizens. Encourage seniors to utilize this “sounding board” to establish what they wish to be recognized as appropriate behavior and response. Incorporate input into necessary policy and procedures. Train seniors in current law enforcement trends and approaches. Familiarize them with present procedures to promote a better understanding of law enforcement functions.

The greatest asset of this project will be an enhanced quality of life for our senior citizens. The results will be measured in their comfort; in feeling safe at home; in knowing that they matter; in participating in their own lives and destiny; and, in assisting each other as well as their law enforcement officials in areas of mutual concern.