What is a Triad?
Triad is a community-based partnership between law enforcement agencies, and agencies and individuals involved in elderly issues. The goal of Triad is to reduce criminal victimization of the elderly by bringing together community agencies to form a relationship of trust with the elderly, enabling them to jointly recognize and solve problems.
Triad is sponsored nationally by the AARP, National Sheriff's Association, and the International Association of Chief's of Police for the last 10 years.
Triad improves and enriches the quality of life for older Iowans in the present.
A Triad consists of a three-way effort among
- The Sheriff,
- The police chief(s) in the county, and
- AARP or older/retired leadership in the area who agree to work together to reduce the criminal victimization of older citizens and enhance the delivery of law enforcement services to this population. Triad provides the opportunity for the exchange of information between law enforcement and senior citizens. It focuses on reducing unwarranted fear of crime and improving the quality of life for seniors. A Triad is tailored to meet the needs of each town/city/county and is governed by a senior advisory council (S.A.L.T.). Triad is an integral part of community policing.
Why is Triad Necessary?
Older Americans comprise the most rapidly growing segment of the population. One in every eight Americans is already age 65 or older. Iowa leads the nation with the largest percentage of citizens 85 years and older, contains the second largest percentage of those 75 years and older, and ranks fourth in people 65 years and older (based on total population).
Increased life expectancy is leading to new issues and problems for the criminal justice system. Most communities are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of older persons, thus increasing crime against the elderly and calls for service.
Triads work together to devise better ways to reduce crimes against the elderly and enhance services for older citizens who appreciate, respect, and support the community.
How Did Triad Get Started?
The American Association of Retried Persons (AARP), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) signed a cooperative agreement in 1988 to work together to reduce both criminal victimization and unwarranted fear of crime affecting older persons.
The three national organizations agreed that police chiefs, sheriffs, older leaders, and those who work with seniors, working together, could devise better ways to reduce crimes against the elderly and enhance law enforcement services to older citizens. This, they believe, is true community policing, providing better service to a population which appreciates, respect, and supports
Who Carries Out Triad Activities?
The engine that drives Triad is the S.A.L.T. Council (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together). Triad is a concept - three organizations - chiefs of police, seniors and sheriffs working together for the benefit of seniors. The SALT Council is where the action is! It is here the the representatives of seniors, sheriff's offices and police departments put their talents together to create and implement programs tailored to the needs of their community. SALT Councils typically have representatives of the police chiefs, the sheriffs office, crime prevention officers, representatives of various senior organizations, social service representatives, outreach centers, clergy, and other resources that deal with, or have an interest in, helping the elderly. The SALT Council assesses the needs of the elderly in the community by finding out what the needs really are and collaboratively developing ways in which to meet those needs. Triad is the concept, the SALT Council is the application of that concept. SALT puts the spice in Triad!
What Can Triad Do?
Triad is a way to involve law enforcement and older Americans. The focus is determined by both, assessing the needs of the particular community. Areas with more serious crime problems may focus on crime prevention and victim assistance. Places where4 older persons are not often targets for crime may decide to concentrate on reassurance programs, training for law enforcement, and involving volunteers within the law enforcement agencies.
The S.A.L.T advisory council (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) plans activities and programs which involve and benefit both law enforcement and seniors. Some Triads sponsor:
Crime prevention programs for older persons :
- Information on how to avoid criminal victimization
- Expanded involvement in Neighborhood Watch
- Home security information and inspections
- Personal safety tips
- Knowledge of current frauds and scams
- Ideas for coping with telephone solicitations and door-to-door salesmen
- Elder abuse prevention, recognition and reporting information
- Training for deputies and officers in communicating with and assisting older persons
- Reassurance programs for older citizens
- Telephone call-in programs by and for seniors
- Adopt-a-senior visits for shut-ins
- Buddy system for shut-ins
- Emergency preparedness plans by and for seniors
- Senior walks at parks or malls - with crime prevention component
- Senior safe shopping trips for groceries
- Victim assistance by and for seniors
- Court watch activities
- Refrigerator cards with emergency medical information
- Older persons volunteering within law enforcement agencies
- Citizen Police Academy to educate the community
- Information tables at senior centers and malls
Triads across the country are involved in some of these aspects, choosing activities which the S.A.L.T Council agrees will be beneficial to citizens in that area.