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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

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Washington, DC 20530


April 2021 | Volume 14 | Issue 4

USC Elder Justice
Photo Courtesy of the USC Center for Elder Justice

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), June 15, serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and communities to bring attention to the issue of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. WEAAD was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. At the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), we have been privileged to work with law enforcement departments throughout the nation. They have shared their efforts to protect and serve older adults to promote communities free from neglect and abuse. Here is an example.

In the words of Sergeant Bernadette Smith of the Douglas County (Nevada) Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), “Law enforcement is just not about kicking down doors and arresting criminals. It is also about protecting one of our most vulnerable populations. Seniors have greatly contributed to society, worked full careers, raised families, assisted with grandchildren, and helped their aging parents; they deserve our attention, respect and the protection of our law enforcement. Our population has a large retirement community, and I am grateful that my employer Sheriff Dan Coverley believes as I do—that protecting our older Americans is important—and has given me the ability to grow this program.”

WEED Good Neighbors
Photo Courtesy of the DCSO
The program Sgt. Smith is speaking about is the DCSO’s Good Neighbor Program. This community outreach program connects the sheriff’s office with the older Americans in their community. A comprehensive home visit is conducted by a peace officer, emergency information is procured, and a safety check of the residence is completed along with making sure the resident is aware of current scams. This information is inserted into the shared law enforcement and fire department database for future reference. The DCSO Good Neighbor Program has received a Community Policing Development (CPD) Microgrant to help expand their innovative practices in community policing. It is a model that can be replicated in every community and exemplifies the spirit of WEAAD.

Visit the COPS Office Grants web page to learn more about the Microgrants program along with other solicitations opening this spring. Go to the WEAAD web page to learn more about how you can get involved in WEAAD activities throughout the country.

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