The Poor Chief’s Guide to connecting with senior citizens in your community
Organizations such as social services, houses of worship, a local food bank, senior centers, and thrift stores can help you locate your elderly population
It is common knowledge that 85 percent of the law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have fewer than 50 officers. Of that 85 percent, 80 percent have less than 25 officers, and of that 80 percent, 65 percent have less than 12 sworn. What that translates into is this: the bulk of law enforcement is serving a small population base. Typically with small towns, there is a significant population of senior citizens. Additionally, a considerable number of senior citizens live alone.
One of the greatest fears and hazards for a senior citizen is isolation. Implementing a program to combat those fears and directly address the isolation issue serves a crucial part of the police mission. The program — which I’ve dubbed “Good Day, [Your Town]!” — is uncomplicated and simple in it design, but with it you can have significant and far-reaching results.
Step 1: Lay the Groundwork
To get “Good Day, [Your Town]!” underway, create a detailed press release providing a contact number for easy registration. Brief presentations can be made to local organizations such as the Masons, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis, Rotary, Eagles, Moose, etc. Almost all will have relatives that fall into one of these categories. They also can help compile a list of phone numbers of individuals they know personally who wish to participate.
Step 2: Implement the Program
This type of program is obviously better suited for smaller jurisdictions that do not have a high frantic call volume. This type of service in a small town can greatly impact the quality of life of an elderly person or one who may have health concerns or needs.
At the outset, this program may seem to you or your staff to be an additional burden. But you will soon find there is great receptiveness and appreciation from a population who are often overlooked or ignored. The circular satisfaction of this program may surprise you and your department, and a positive experience can be had on both sides of the telephone receiver.
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