Starting A Triad
The first step in forming a Triad involves law enforcement leaders. In most cases, this is the sheriff and police chiefs, who provide an opportunity to work together for safer older adults in their community.
A Triad begins with one law enforcement leader bringing together other law enforcement, older adults, and those who work for them to form a team. As an example, a chief of police may contact other chiefs, the sheriff, and someone to represent older residents and their services. This person may be an RSVP leader or other older adult with experience, knowledge of the community, and the ability to motivate others and work well with older individuals.
Schedule the first meeting as a second step. Agree to work together to assess older adult needs and enhance crime-related services. At the first meeting, a Triad Cooperative Agreement should be signed (see Appendix A). Secure media coverage of law enforcement focusing on the crime-related older adult needs.
Triad focuses on crime prevention, criminal victimization, and safety—emphasizing that all agencies work jointly and cooperatively.
Beneficial Triad meeting topics include:
- Older population growth;
- How law enforcement services are affected by population changes;
- Educating older individuals who may not know how/where to obtain services;
- Benefits to law enforcement by referring older adults to needed services;
- Educating law enforcement with pertinent information about older adults;
- Teaching law enforcement older adult communication skills;
- Discuss Triad benefits to law enforcement, other service providers, older residents, and the community;
- The benefits of a council of law enforcement leaders and older adults.
Establish a SALT Council (an older adult advisory council) as the next step. Consider members for the Council and set a date for the first council meeting. This process is discussed in detail in Chapter Three: Making Triad Work.
Many law enforcement agencies have a departmental policy on the Triad approach to crime and older adults. A model policy is in Appendix B.
The involvement of the police department(s), sheriff's office, older leaders, and those who work with older adults is essential to create a successful Triad.
Although there is no format for replicating Triad activity and success, established Triads report some commonalties:
- The sheriff and at least one chief attend most SALT meetings.
- Officers and deputies provide guidance and support rather than chairing council meetings.
- Within the first few months, a survey of older residents is reviewed by the council and conducted with members' assistance.
- Monthly council meetings. Groups meeting only quarterly move slowly and rely more heavily on the support and involvement of law enforcement professionals.
- Triad-sponsored crime prevention seminars for older persons.
- Recruitment of older volunteers to work with law enforcement agencies.
- An effort to identify and publicize programs that assist older persons.
- Outreach to vulnerable older adults living alone.
The commitment of agency representatives and volunteers will dictate the variety of programs and services Triad offers. It will progress by the group of individuals who know the community and understand older adult concerns.