Police check on seniors

Karina Arutyunova

Senior citizens in Brimfield Township are getting a little extra attention from the Brimfield Police Department.

Brimfield police officers are keeping close contact with the elderly through their Senior Check Program.

The idea came from an officer who had done something similar at a different department. The Brimfield Police thought it was a good idea and have been doing it for almost three years.

“We offered seniors to give us their information, address and phone,” Sgt. William J. Reese said. “We then try to stop and see them once or twice a month, and we also try to call them to make sure they’re OK.”

Three officers, Reese, Amber Peterman and Russell Diehl, are in charge of contacting the 84 seniors who are signed up for the program.

Reese said the officers keep the elderly informed when anything unexpected happens in the community.

“When we have a power outage or a storm, we gather around the table and take out the book and start calling them,” he said.

And the officers are also there to let the elderly know they care.

“We send them anniversary cards and holiday cards,” Reese said. “One of our officers has even helped manage a checkbook and make a phone call for an elderly person.”

The duties are spread out between the officers, Diehl said.

“We go out and knock on their door, introduce ourselves if they don’t know us and visit them for about 10 or 15 minutes.”

The Brimfield Police Department is one of the only police departments in the area that has a program like this. In Akron, elderly home invasions have been on the rise recently; several of them happened within weeks of each other.

“We don’t have a problem, and we don’t have a program,” said Lt. Michelle Lee from the Kent Police Department. “I haven’t heard a wave of crime targeting the elderly in Kent.”

Reese said they have not seen elderly home invasion problems in Brimfield, but the point of the program is to have contact with people of all ages in the community.

“What makes this program so special is that it gets us in contact with the older generation of the community,” Reese said. “We keep them informed on what is going on and they ultimately pay our salary, so we show them that we appreciate it.”

The Senior Check Program has been beneficial in more ways than one.

“The more visible we can be in our community, that deters crime,” Reese said. “When you’re stopping a car, you’re letting people know you’re there and people are saying, ‘Man, those guys are everywhere.'”

The program is open to any senior citizen living in Brimfield Township who wishes to participate, and Reese encourages more people join.

“Most seniors are proud, and they don’t like to ask for help,” Reese said. “Our goal is to get them all involved in the program.”

To sign up for the program, contact the Brimfield Police Department at (330) 673-7716.

Contact public affairs reporter Karina Arutyunova at [email protected].