Senior citizens in Ogle County can now sign up for police to check up on their well-being.
Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said the free Senior Check-In Program is for seniors who live alone, who do not have family within 50 miles of their residence to check on them, and who want to be in the program.
Once a week, a sheriff’s dispatcher will call the senior on a designated day and time to check in. The dispatcher will try three times to contact the senior; if there is no answer, the sheriff’s 911 communication center will try to reach the emergency contacts listed on the application.
If an emergency contact is reached, they will be asked to check on the senior. The contacts will only be known to the senior citizen and staff in the dispatch center.
If none of the contacts are reached, a sheriff’s deputy will go check on the senior, or a police officer will do so if the senior lives in a municipality.
Two local police chiefs said they support the program. Oregon chief Darin DeHaan said his department will reciprocate and check on residents outside of towns if sheriff’s deputies are unavailable to check on a resident.
“I do see a need. The only concern I had was that we built in every possible way of making entry (into a home) without forcing entry. I think that’s been done,” DeHaan said.
The application form asks whether the applicant’s home has a hidden key, and if they have a code to enter their home or attached garage.
Polo Police Chief Jon Mandrell described the program as another extension of a good community policing policy.
“During the summer, people go away for a week, and we can check on them. We do welfare checks quite often. We’ve had people leave keys with us, and people will say, ‘if Dad doesn’t answer the door, you can use it,’” Mandrell said.
The senior being contacted must fill out the form, must want to participate, and must be aware they are joining the program.
Go to oglecounty.org/departments/sheriff to download a form, or call the business office at 815-732-1101 to request a form be mailed.
Seniors going on vacation can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-732-1101 to send dispatchers their vacation days, so dispatchers will know they will not be home for a scheduled call.
Similarly, seniors can email or call the call center if they wish to discontinue being in the program.