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The FBI and the elderly.

The FBI combats crime against the elderly in a variety of ways, from investigating allegations of medicare/medicaid fraud committed by doctors and nursing homes to dismantling telemarketing and mail fraud schemes that prey disproportionately upon the senior population. The FBI also provides assistance to State and local law enforcement agencies that investigate offenses against the elderly, including violent crimes.

To further enhance the security of the Nation's seniors, the FBI also supports the Triad and SALT initiatives. Triad is a formal cooperative effort established on the local level by police chiefs, sheriffs, and local representatives of the elderly population. SALT, which grew out of the Triad initiative, stands for Seniors and Lawmen Together. Both initiatives work to foster a safer living environment for the elderly.

Developing Triad/SALT

For years, the Behavioral Science Services Unit, located at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, cohosted numerous conferences with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). These training sessions were developed to foster effective crime prevention measures for the elderly. Then, in January 1986, the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) was formed. In July of that year, the newly formed NCAVC joined with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to cohost its first major symposium, a conference focusing on violent crime against the aging.

After this symposium, the IACP placed responsibility for addressing victimization of the elderly under its Crime Prevention Committee. As members of this committee, personnel from the NCAVC continued to support the development of enhanced protective measures for the elderly.

In a spring 1987, meeting of the National Crime Prevention Institute at the University of Louisville, the IACP's Crime Prevention Committee pledged to continue the relationship established with the AARP. Members also decided to extend an invitation to the Crime Prevention Committee of the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA). The enthusiastic response of the NSA paved the way for an historic meeting held in September 1987, at IACP Headquarters.

This meeting was chaired by the chief of the FBI's Research Unit, Office of Public Affairs, and included representatives from AARP's Office of Criminal Justice Services and the Crime Prevention Committees of both the IACP and the NSA. Attendees pledged their mutual agreement and sought a broader mandate from their respective organizations to form a cooperative approach to improve the quality of life for the aging. This agreement marked the first such cooperative effort between the IACP and the NSA to address a major crime issue. By 1988, the AARP, IACP, and NSA passed resolutions in support of this working relationship, and the Triad concept was formed. Representatives of the three organizations met regularly to define and refine the focus of the Triad initiative. The SALT concept grew out of these meetings, as representatives pursued effective ways to transfer the Triad concept to State and local levels. Continued Support

Although not a formal member of Triad, the FBI continues to actively support Triad/SALT initiatives. The fourth annual Triad conference took place at the FBI Academy on August 2-5, 1993, and to continue its commitment, the FBI has set dates for the 1994 Triad meeting. FBI Academy instructors will present a training curriculum recently developed by the AARP's Office of Criminal Justice Services. This curriculum provides specialized training for police officers who deal primarily with the elderly.

The Triad concept is also presented at various meetings held at the Academy, as well as other FBI-sponsored conferences and training programs throughout the country. In addition, the Triad concept is now included in courses offered to FBI National Academy students.

The Future

To remain effective, law enforcement must consider the demographic realities facing the Nation. In the years ahead, an increasing proportion of the population will be made up of elderly persons. This trend, combined with other social forces, will result in an increased number of senior citizens left vulnerable to criminal victimization. Therefore, law enforcement agencies should act now to develop initiatives to enhance protection and victim assistance programs for this particularly susceptible segment of the population. Communities must also develop innovative crime prevention measures to ensure that limited resources are applied to the most serious problems. Accordingly, the Triad/SALT initiatives combine resources to address the complex issues involved with crimes against the aging.

One of the central components of the Triad/SALT approach is to involve individuals from the senior community in working to make all seniors more safe. This strategy can be expanded and employed in law enforcement agencies around the Nation. This means recruiting seniors to volunteer their time and talent to police departments, as well as to serve as advisors on SALT committees at the Federal, State, and local level.

Conclusion

In partnership with the three members of Triad--the American Association of Retired Persons, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs' Association--the FBI works to reduce senior citizens' vulnerability to crime. It also aggressively investigates white-collar criminals who prey on the elderly.

Unfortunately, senior citizens represent an attractive target for many criminals. Therefore, law enforcement at all levels must work proactively to protect and serve the growing senior population.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Federal Bureau of Investigation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Harpold, Joseph A.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Date:Feb 1, 1994
Words:854
Previous Article:Law enforcement gerontology.
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