Law enforcement officers and seniors discuss crime prevention

Members of SALT (seniors and lawmen working together) met to discuss crime prevention and how to keep the eldest members of the parish informed about safety programs available to them. “We invite guest speakers, like Sheriff Greg Champagne, to discuss crime prevention and we get an opportunity to hear from the our elderly residents about what their concerns are,” Lori Duplessis, program coordinator said.

The SALT Council met July 10, at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse in Hahnville and discussed crime safety prevention for the elder members in the parish, and plans for an upcoming community meeting.

“We will be meeting with senior citizens from St. Rose and Destrehan and we will invite community speakers to share information with them concerning public safety and crime prevention,” committee member Arlene Friloux said.

Major Sam Zinna, co-chairman of the committee and spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, updated the group about crimes that happened to senior citizens in the parish.

“We’ve noted the following crimes against seniors in the parish as of June 2007, one armed robbery, two harrassing phone calls, four residence burglaries, three simple criminal property damage to property complaints, one simple robbery and five thefts.” he said.

Some seniors are concerned that attitudes of some individuals toward law enforcement officers are changing for the worse and this may make it difficult for area deputies to perform their jobs.

“Do they take you as seriously as they should or do you feel that the younger generation is no longer concerned about a badge or a uniform?” one committee member asked.

Zinna said he doesn’t see this problem among his deputies.

“Citizens as a whole in St. Charles Parish respond well to law enforcement officers – we usually get full cooperation from the people we arrest,” he continued.

“We take our jobs seriously and we make every effort to keep our residents safe.”

“But we’ve arrested a number of individuals from the west bank of Jefferson Parish. Officials are having a difficult time controlling crime there and some of it is trickling down our way.” he contiuned.

Zinna said the community meetings are important because various guest speakers come and give seniors advise on crime prevention and the programs available to keep them safe.

“We are concerned about crime in the parish

“What is being done about the burglaries that occured in the parish over the course of the past few months?” Friloux asked Zinna.

Zinna replied that the Sheriff’s office is using every available resource and will continue to monitor the situation very extensively.

St. Charles Parish Triad has several outreach programs that help the eldest members of the community.

Activities center on both pre-victimization (preventative) and post-victimization (victim/witness assistance) aspects.

“Triad also focuses on reducing fear of crime by identifying misconceptions, educating seniors or criminal activity that affect them, and creating programs to reduce elder crime with information exchange between law enforcement and older persons,” Lori Duplessis, program coordinator said.

As a non-profit organization, Triad has been supported by funding through United Way of St. Charles since 2002. The Triad program has been able to reach out to more senior citizens and provide additional services since funding by United Way became available.

Triad Outreach Programs include:

Adopt A Senior – Law enforcement officers meet with eligible senior citizens on a regular basis to provide reassurance of safety and open lines of communication between senior citizens and law enforcement officials.

Are You Okay? Telephone Reassurance System – A computerized daily telephone call to eligible senior citizens, confirming that all is well.

File of Life – Miniature Medical File for immediate access to ones medical history, current medications and emergency contacts.

Flashing Security Light – Developed for crime prevention, it helps emergency units find your home quickly by auto flashing capabilities. Also, steady light comes on automatically at dark and shuts off during daylight hours.

Operation Quick Response – A house numbering project for those senior citizens who do not have visible addresses on their homes. Every second counts in an emergency.

Senior Citizens Self-Defense Class – A class teaching senior citizens how to verbally and physically defend themselves. Also, teaches how to prevent from being a victim of crime.

Drug Disposal Program – This service is designed to reinforce the safe use and disposal of expired and unused medications.

For more information on any of the above programs for seniors contact Lori Duplessis at 985-783-1355.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Triad committee and senior citizens in the community formed the SALT Council (Seniors and Lawmen working Together) in 1997.


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