Senior safety is focus of meeting
by Anne Hart Preus
Aug 17, 2014 | 2112 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mound Bayou's Police Chief Tony Warren and Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams spoke to participants in St. Gabriel's Senior Outreach Program Thursday about senior safety.

Ten percent of the population of Bolivar County is over the age of 60.

Warren advised those who live alone to obtain medical alert systems which are available through Medicaid or private companies. The system would alert the police, fire department or ambulance in case of an emergency.

"In case of a fall, no one would know. That is why such a device is important," said Warren.

Warren encouraged members of the audience to report suspicious people or things around the neighborhood. "There is 911 and also Crime Stoppers," said Warren.

"There are some people who don't want to leave their name and that is fine, but they need to leave information," said Warren. "It is important not ignore what is going on."

Other safety tips Warren provided to the senior citizens included: Have good lighting-maybe invest in motion lighting; get rid of tall hedges around the house, have someone with you if you are out at night, know emergency numbers, and don't leave valuables in the car.

One citizen asked what to do about stray dogs.

"We don't have a dog catcher here in Mound Bayou so we have to call the sheriff's department," said Warren.

Sheriff Williams added that the animal shelters are filled. "Our resources are limited, but we try to assist towns in controlling the loose animals," Williams said.

"We also need to know if animals are being mistreated," said Williams.

"We need to know if things are happening that are not safe for animals or people. Our senior citizens are a great benefit to the community and an asset to law enforcement," said Williams. "They see things and are sometimes hesitant to call us because they fear retaliation, but we need them because crime can't be solved by law enforcement alone. It takes everyone."

Williams reported that Bolivar County citizens are not making use of Crime Stoppers.

"We can all benefit if a person committing a crime is arrested. You don't have to give your name, just information," said Williams. "You could get $1,000 if your lead helps solve a case."

Williams said his department was working with the towns to keep citizens safe.

"Building strong relationships helps Bolivar County as a whole. A safe place draws people and businesses," said Williams.

Williams asked the audience to stay on the phone with the dispatcher if they were in danger.

"Don't be in a hurry to get off the phone because we have to get information. Sometimes people call and say they are being robbed, but they don't tell us where they are," said Williams.

Williams ended his presentation by asking the audience to hold the Sheriff's Department and local police accountable. "If we aren't doing our jobs, let the board of supervisors and town boards know. Let your voices be heard," he said.