Seniors Invited To Have 'Pizza With The Police'
By: Debra Lawless
Like pizza? Have questions you’d like to ask the Chatham police and police chief?
Your chance to enjoy pizza while getting your questions answered will come during an informal luncheon called “Pizza with the Police” on May 11 at the Chatham Council on Aging (COA).
“This is one of our community interactions that we do,” says Chatham Police Chief Mark R. Pawlina. And “what gets people together more than anything else than having a party, having food?”
This is the third Pizza with the Police event held during the past few months. The prior ones were held in the late afternoon and drew mainly families and children. This event is being held at noon to draw “a different demographic,” Pawlina says. “We wanted to get some of the senior citizens. It’s always a good crowd.”
Pawlina will attend the event with Lt. Michael Anderson and one or two officers who are on duty at that time.
As for what seniors might discuss with the police—“they can talk about whatever they want. The idea is to spark conversations on issues,” Pawlina says.
For example, seniors are unfortunately often targets of “fraudulent schemes and scams. We always have good advice to them and tips on that.” Pawlina’s basic advice for anyone who receives a phone call asking for a credit card or for wired money is to hang up the telephone and alert the police. The police will determine if it’s a scam.
Or maybe seniors have questions on the Reassurance Program which began in the 1980s. Seniors enrolled in this program telephone the police department by 10 a.m. each day. “If there’s no call, we can send a car out to the residence for a wellness check,” Pawlina says. Often it turns out that the senior went to a doctor’s appointment that morning, or is in the hospital, and simply forgot to tell the police.
Children and grandchildren of seniors love the program, he says. When people retire to Chatham they may not have as much contact with their families as they had previously. The wellness program gives those relatives “peace of mind” knowing that the police will “make sure they’re OK and don’t need any kind of assistance.”
Chatham Bars Inn, in conjunction with the Chatham Police Association, hosts an annual holiday luncheon in December for those in the Reassurance Program.
A program called “Wanderer” is geared to Alzheimer’s patients or those with some type of mental incapacity who tend to wander off. In this program people buy, from a private company, a bracelet with a built-in GPS tracker. “If someone was reported lost, and someone was worried about their well-being, and signed up with the program, we can use the product to try to track where they are,” Pawlina says.
A few years ago the Chatham Police and Fire Associations teamed up and bought the bracelet device for an autistic teenager who has wandered from his home in Chatham as far as Orleans without alerting anyone.
“Pizza with the Police” will be held on Friday, May 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at the council on aging senior center on Stony Hill Road. Registration is required as space is limited. Transportation is available. Call the COA at 508-945-5190 to register. The event is free.