AARP Eye Center
Des Moines, October 12, 2015 – Recognizing the changing demographics in Polk County and the importance of anticipating and supporting programs to meet the needs of older adults, leaders of Central Iowa’s law enforcement agencies, local community organizations and AARP today announced the signing of a TRIAD cooperative agreement. The groups will work together to assess area needs and enhance crime-related services and develop educational and outreach programs to enhance overall safety and security of older adults in the metropolitan Des Moines area.
Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy, Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert, Fire Chief John Tekippe, Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, Polk County Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly and representatives from Aging Resources of Central Iowa, Polk County Senior Services, the Alzheimer’s Association and AARP announced formation of the new TRIAD and establishment of Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) Councils to help improve the safety of older adults and decrease crime and exploitation targeting older adults.
The new collaboration is a volunteer-driven initiative led by AARP volunteers Deb Cason and Judy Orth of Des Moines. While she lived in Colorado, Cason was actively involved with the Larimer County TRIAD for many years and served as president for a term. She is excited to help bring the same enthusiasm to Des Moines.
“I witnessed the relationships forged between older adults and law enforcement. The older adults felt comfortable asking questions and eagerly awaited the monthly meetings to learn and discuss safety issues,” Cason said. “When life brought me back to Des Moines, I sought out the local TRIAD and was saddened when I found none. I made a commitment to form a local organization and this group of individuals has worked very hard and is committed to the success of TRIAD.”
The organization’s goals are not only to improve safety of older adults, but also to improve relations between law enforcement professionals, emergency responders, community organizations, and older adults through education.
Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy said the new initiative is a welcome addition to their current outreach. “Aligning with the Sheriff’s Office mission, we take pride in proactive community involvement with the people we serve, and in this case, older Iowans,” said Sheriff McCarthy. “Our goal as being a partner in TRIAD is to enhance the security and well-being of the Greater Des Moines area’s older adult community.”
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert acknowledges the role TRIAD can play in bridging relations between law enforcement and residents. “Education and open dialogue are important pieces of the puzzle between our senior citizens, their caregivers, and the community. TRIAD will help coordinate these efforts to ensure our seniors are safe and that both they and their caregivers are aware of agencies that may help them when issues arise,” Chief Wingert said.
"The core of the fire department's mission is to assist the public,” Des Moines Fire Chief John Tekippe said. “In addition to responding to people's emergency needs every day, TRIAD will help us to assist seniors to live more safely as well as make connections between their individual needs and the services and practices that might prevent emergencies from happening."
“The Polk County Attorney’s Office has long been dedicated to fighting crime against seniors, as we established the first and only specialized Dependent Adult and Elder Abuse Unit in Iowa in 2002,” said Polk County Attorney John Sarcone. “Since that time, we have seen the need for more information, education, and awareness of crime prevention for older adults. TRIAD is a great step in the right direction for Polk County."
“Polk County Senior Services is excited to witness the development, growth of and impact that TRIAD will have improving the safety of the older adult population in greater Des Moines,” said Joy Ihle, Polk County Senior Services Program Administrator. “We are pleased that Polk County Senior Services can be part of this collaboration with Law Enforcement, Older Adults and other community organizations.”
Joel Olah, Director of Aging Resources of Central Iowa, said, “Aging Resources is very pleased to be a partner in TRIAD, linking our home and community-based resources for older adults with law enforcement, emergency responders, and other community organizations. TRIAD also complements our efforts within the Age-Friendly Cities initiative by improving public safety and promoting a secure environment where older persons can thrive. We look forward to this opportunity.”
"Six in ten people with dementia will wander, so safety of these individuals is a concern to the Alzheimer's Association. Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services we can provide to help prevent it, "says Executive Director, Carol Sipfle, of the Alzheimer's Association Greater Iowa Chapter. "In addition, after a dementia diagnosis, a caregiver of those with dementia should talk about driving safety as well as assess the home for the safety of that individual."
Kent Sovern, AARP Iowa State Director, said “AARP is indebted to volunteers Deb Cason and Judy Orth for their commitment to bring TRIAD to Des Moines. TRIAD is a much welcome addition to Des Moines’ overall livability and will be an excellent way for both law enforcement and the community to get the word out about programs that will enhance the safety and security of 50-plus residents.”
Organizers said two pilot S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) groups are being formed at the North Senior Center at Park Fair Mall and the South Senior Center. The S.A.L.T. groups will host monthly educational meetings presented by law enforcement officials at both centers, starting monthly this fall at Park Fair and expanding to the South Center in 2016. The end goal is reducing crime targeting against older by engaging older adults to become more involved and assist law enforcement with meeting their needs.
The first S.A.L.T. meeting will be from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 at the North Senior Center at Park Fair Mall. To get involved with the greater Des Moines TRIAD or S.A.L.T. groups, contact the North Senior Center at Park Fair Mall at 515.288.1524 for more information.
AARP is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, including more than 370,000 in Iowa. More information is at www.aarp.org/ia
Aging Resources of Central Iowa advocates, coordinates and provides services through federal, state and private funding to persons 60 years of age and older and their families in an eight counties including Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story and Warren. Our goal is to allow older adults individual choices in their care process in order to remain safe and independent in their homes. http://www.agingresources.com/
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. The Greater Iowa Chapter provides vital services, education and support to people living with Alzheimer's in this community as well as their family members and caregivers who are also affected by their loved ones diagnosis. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's®.
City of Des Moines Fire Department
The women and men of the Des Moines Fire Department are committed to serving the citizens through effective risk reduction programs. Our 280 firefighters and medics operate out of 10 stations strategically placed around the City of Des Moines. https://www.dmgov.org/departments/Fire/Pages/default.aspx
City of Des Moines Police Department
The Des Moines Police Department works in partnership with our community to protect lives and property, and to enforce laws impartially. Our department consists of 365 sworn officers and 107 support personnel working together to ensure a good quality of life for all our citizens. https://www.dmgov.org/departments/police/Pages/default.aspx
Polk County Attorney’s Office
The attorneys and staff in the Polk County Attorney's Office work hard to achieve justice for the victims of crime and to serve the community of over 430,000 residents in Polk County, by prosecuting violations of state law and providing legal counsel to the county government. https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/attorney/
Polk County Senior Services manages and provides a variety services for families and older adults such as transportation, nutrition, recreation and education, and volunteer opportunities. http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/CFYS/
Polk County Sheriff
The Office of the Sheriff was instituted when the State of Iowa was granted Statehood in 1846. As the only elected law enforcement officer, the Office of Sheriff is unique in that the Sheriff is directly accountable to the people. https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/sheriff/
First established in 1988 in Louisiana with chiefs of polices, sheriffs, and AARP leaders, TRIAD is a national, not-for-profit, volunteer organization whose goal is to work together to educate, and thereby reduce crime against, older adults. TRIAD empowers older adults to be more active in community programs, educational seminars, and stresses the importance of health and safety. http://www.sheriffs.org/content/national-triad