LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SENIORS VS CRIME PROJECT
Law Enforcement Agencies Do Not Handle Civil Cases. Law enforcement agencies by law, do not have the authority to assist with civil cases, even if it appears that one individual has blatantly taken advantage of another.
Law enforcement officers are, generally, the first responders to many complaints made by senior citizens. All too often the larceny or fraud complaint that the officer is dispatched to is, in reality, a civil action that is outside the officer’s authority to investigate.
A common response from an officer would be “I’m sorry. It’s civil” or “You will need to get an attorney or go to small claims court”.
Often times a senior cannot afford an attorney or it would cost more to litigate a matter than to take the loss- a fact well known by those who target the elderly for fraud or scams.
When Law Enforcement Officers encounter a senior who is the victim of a civil wrongdoing they are personally at a dilemma. They passionately want to help the senior in some way, but they just cannot. In these situations they have no more authority than the next door neighbor.
Florida Sheriffs and Chiefs are passionate about their support for the Seniors Vs Crime Project.
Most Project Offices are co-located in sheriff or police department facilities.
The Chiefs and Sheriffs who have partnered with the Seniors vs. Crime Project are aware of the many cases that would potentially fall through the cracks without Seniors vs Crime Project Offices.
Law enforcement partners recognize the value of their partnership with the Seniors vs Crime Project. An officer now has a resource available where they can direct the senior, at no cost. When they have the senior contact the Project Office, the officers are seen as being more caring by the population they serve. Officers get seniors help with complaints, and the officers feel better, knowing that someone will do their best to help the complainants.
The partnering of the Seniors vs. Crime Project and law enforcement is truly a “win-win” situation for all involved. The Seniors Vs Crime Project turns over a large number of suspected criminal cases to law enforcement throughout Florida each year.
When a Senior Sleuth suspects that a case involves criminal elements, the case is referred to the Project Office Manager for review. The case is then discussed with a Director, and a decision will be made for referral to a law enforcement or other agency.
Each year, 20 to 30 of the cases referred to law enforcement agencies by Seniors vs Crime result in convictions.
Video prepared for law enforcement officers by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office presented by Sheriff Deputies and Frank Poston, Seniors vs Crime Director (retired). The video educates officers about the value of the partnership with Seniors vs Crime to the citizens they protect. Video: Palm Beach Sheriff's Office via Utube
Video for officers and citizens prepared by Lieutenant Tony Sizemore of the Cape Coral Police Department. He explains their motivation to enter partnership stemmed from a Resource Officer who was frustrated that he could not assist a resident. Video: Cap Coral Police Department via Utube
Senior Sleuth Don Brozick (left) with The Villages Community Watch Division Chief Nehemiah Wolfe (center) and Lt. Robert Siemer (right) of Sumter County Sheriff's Office, discussing cooperative efforts with the Sumter County Project Office. Photo: VillagesNews.com, all rights reserved
The Sumter County Project Office participates in a community forum with law enforcement and other community groups to discuss crime and fraud prevention Photo: VillagesNew.com, all rights reserved
Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Sargent Rich Aloy (left) with the Seniors Vs. Crime Project's Director Judy Ertl (center) and Senor Sleuth Bobbi Conrad (right) at the Navarre Project Office Photo: South Santa Rosa News, all rights reserved