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Tregre: Sheriff’s Office outreach for seniors keeps up needed contact

Well summertime is here and it is hot! This month’s article is focusing on being a good neighbor.

St. John has lots of senior citizens who can take care of themselves without assistance; however, we do have some citizens who need our help. At SJSO, we do our best to market our POPS program (Protecting Our Precious Seniors).

This program consists of deputies being assigned to registered senior citizens to make a wellness check weekly. Most of the visits are just to say “hello” or have a basic conversation.

The deputies log each visit when one is completed and they also document if a registered participant is not able to be contacted on three consecutive attempts to make a visit.

If the visiting officer does not make contact, the registered participant should have listed a contact person that we can speak with regarding the welfare or whereabouts of the resident.

We have rarely gotten to the third visit without contact. For example, one resident could not be reached for multiple visits. The grass was overgrown. The newspapers were stacking on the lawn.

Once multiple phone calls were made and Officers started questioning neighbors, we found he walks to McDonald’s several times a week to drink coffee and socialize.

So now we check on him either at home or McDonald’s. And, we even found volunteers to cut his grass.

But not all residents have a happy ending like this gentleman. Recently I was advised of a non-registered senior citizen who lives alone with her two dogs.

She was very independent. She drove to the Adoration Chapel at Ascension of Our Lord Church every Tuesday. But one particular Tuesday she did not show up.

Friends called her cell phone but got no answer. One friend went to her house and, although her car was home, there was no answer at the door. Turns out, the resident was in the home, but the sound of her dogs barking when the doorbell rang drowned out the sound of the resident yelling for help.

After four days, the next door neighbor began to worry after seeing no activity and decided to walked around the rear of the residence without knocking on the door and heard someone say “Help me!”

She immediately ran to get her husband. They kicked in the door and found the female on the floor. She had to be hospitalized due to the prolonged time without food and water.

Please encourage your family members and neighbors to register with our POPS program by calling 985-652-7058 in our Public Relations Department.   

Between our super hot summer days and our record breaking cold winters, we all know someone who could benefit from a visit now and then to ensure their well being.

We will even visit you at McDonald’s if necessary! Be a good neighbor!  Check on someone weekly! We do!

Mike Tregre is sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Reach him at m.tregre@stjohnsheriff.org.