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Sheriff sets up new program to assist seniors

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

The Union County Sheriff Department is pioneering Triad, a new program to serve the older citizens of Union County.

“Crimes targeting older adults are different in that victims are sought out because of perceived vulnerabilities, and these crimes affect older adults differently. Law enforcement, first responders, and those who work with older adults must understand this dynamic to curb these activities, and to assist the victims,” said Edward Hutchison, Triad Director, NSA in the Triad guidebook.

In Indiana where 14-17 percent of residents are 85 and older, according to Triad manual, it is important their needs are being met.

Sheriff Dale Dishmond initiated the program after seeing it implemented in nearby counties. After undergoing training and setting up a board, establishing a Seniors and Law (Enforcement) Together (S.A.L.T.) council, they are now ready for volunteers, and for the community to fully utilize this program.

“We saw a need in the community. There were older adults becoming victims of scams, especially construction scams. And we saw there was a need to educate older adults in the community. It's a program to go out and check on them to see if there are any needs. Essentially it is a welfare check where we can see if there are any healthcare issues, or simply as a contact with the family,” said Dishmond.

This program runs on a volunteer basis aided by proper background checks and training.

Three key facets of this program is setting up a neighborhood watch, sending out a home security survey to fully understand the needs of the community, and personal safety education.

One of the biggest concerns from this survey is residential entry burglaries.

“You'd be amazed at how many residential area burglaries I've been to, or calls I've gotten about suspicious vehicles,” said Liberty Police Chief Andrew Jordan.

Personal safety education is helping older citizens be more discerning when they are approached with scams. In addition, it's teaching them to look for license plate numbers and similar identifiers when they have been taken advantage of so that there is a better chance they find justice.

People who are victims of a scam should call the Indiana State Police Scam Hotline (317)-232-5843. Those interested in volunteering should contact Sheriff Dishmond at (765) 548-5194 extension 232.