June 22, 2017
By Evan Goodenow
The Winchester Star
Because the area is a popular place to retire, reducing crimes against elderly people is a major priority, said Winchester Sheriff Les Taylor.
Taylor’s agency is taking over the Winchester/Frederick County chapter of Triad SALT ( Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) from the Winchester Police Department. Triad SALT is a nonprofit group formed to help keep senior citizens from becoming crime victims.
“It’s a great organization,” Taylor said Monday. “ We look forward to keeping this great organization going and getting the information out to seniors and keeping them safe.”
The change is due to the city of Winchester eliminating the position that oversaw Triad, Taylor said. The position was held by Jennifer Hall, who was the police department’s community relations/ crime prevention specialist.
The chapter, formed in 2014, is part of a national group of law enforcers and organizations that help senior citizens. Triad refers to the AARP, International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs Association, which are the groups that came up with the concept in 1988, according to the Virginia Attorney General’s office.
Taylor said the elderly are frequently targeted by con artists. They prey on seniors through internet, mail and phone scams and dupe them into sending them money or providing personal financial information. Elderly people are also sometimes victimized by caregivers or family members who steal from them or coerce them into giving them money.
One of the most popular sessions at the Triad’s annual festival is a presentation on how to avoid being victimized, said group Co- chairwoman Gwen Malone. Malone said much of the chapter’s monthly meetings are spent planning for the annual festival held in April.
Some 250 people attended this year’s festival at the Millwood Station Special Events Center. Malone said she had to discourage some people from coming due to lack of room. The group is planning to find a bigger venue for next year’s event.
“We don’t want to turn anybody away,” she said. “That’s why finding a place is huge.”
Malone, who spent 23 years as a middle school teacher in Clarke County before retiring in 2015, said she first heard of Triad after attending the 2015 festival. She was impressed with the festival and said it inspired her to volunteer.
Malone said volunteering is a way to continue teaching in a different way. “Whereas I was teaching young people, now I am, more or less, co- teaching seniors,” she said.