FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Crimes against elderly people are being reported more, thanks to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) creating the At Risk Adult Abuse Plan. It’s a plan created to help decrease exploitation and abuse toward the elderly.
Part of the plan includes training officers about diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that are common to come across with older people.
Vernon Keenan, GBI Director, said the training is helping because officers have come across this disease more over the years.
“This is something that they are encountering routinely in their day to day activities and they need to be trained on how to handle these type of instances,” Keenan said.
So Tim Sutton, with Next Generation Training and Better Understanding, teaches officers about Alzheimer’s.
“If we do not understand the behaviors related to Alzheimer’s and Dementia then many times, we’re gonna do the wrong thing,” Sutton said.
Education is what helps an officer think before they act.
“You can’t expect an officer to do something if there not educated on it. Our goal at a Better Understanding and Next Generation Training is to get out there and train people, so they do know,” he said.
Sutton said cops aren’t just expected to stop criminals, but also help the community.
“Law enforcement has changed so much in the years. We’re not just out there arresting bad guys, locking up criminals, writing tickets, enforcing traffic,” Sutton said. “We have become more of social workers. where, we are out there trying to help the families.”
The officers training included them learning about the stages and signs of Alzheimer’s and watching videos on officers who react to people with this disease.
Keenan said the training helps with the At Risk Adult Abuse Plan and results are showing it.
“Strong laws have been passed in the last two to three years which gives us a lot of tools to deal with crimes against the elderly.”
The GBI started the plan five years ago. There are no plans to stop it anytime soon.