Guilford to get TRIAD program

Published: Thursday, May 21, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — Senior citizens can learn how to protect themselves from financial scams and how to stay safe, thanks to a program announced Wednesday.

At a morning event attended by several older residents, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Guilford will be the 58th town in the state to initiate the TRIAD program. The goal of the program is to bring together law enforcement, private businesses and residents to make senior citizens safer.

“The idea of a TRIAD, as you might gather from the use of the word ‘tri,’ is to involve the three critical parts of law enforcement — police, businesses and citizens,” Blumenthal said. “The citizens in some ways are the most important part because you’re the eyes and ears of law enforcement.”

The program is sponsored by People’s United Bank, which offers support for an element of TRIAD called the Yellow Dot program. Angela DeLeon, Master’s Program coordinator for People’s United, said that the program allows people to assist emergency responders by placing a yellow sticker in their car windows and keeping a list of health conditions and other information in their glove boxes.

Guilford police plan to initiate the Yellow Dot program June 24 with a meeting at the community center, Deputy Chief Jeffrey Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the police department plans to have periodic meetings with seniors about issues affecting them. At Wednesday’s kickoff event, several speakers mentioned financial scams as a source of concern for older residents.

Blumenthal noted that his office has received many calls about phone and e-mail scams, in particular the recent calls indicating that a car’s “factory warranty” has expired.

“The economic threat is very real,” he said. “It used to be people would break into your home. … Now they can easily enter your home through your computer and fool you, deceive you, mislead you, because the Internet is such a powerful means of reaching people.”

Another element of the TRIAD program is the Silver Alert, a system like the Amber Alert for missing children to help find older people who may have Alzeimer’s or dementia. A bill creating the system has passed the state Senate and House of Representatives and is waiting for the governor’s approval.

State Rep. Patricia Widlitz, D-Guilford, and Rep. Deb Heinrich, D-Madison, also attended the ceremony.

“This is what makes Guilford a great community — we all care about each other, we all pull together to take care of each other and the TRIAD is a great example of that,” Widlitz said.

Anyone interested in participating in the TRIAD program is asked to call the Police Department at 453-8061.

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