By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — A reassuring chat with a friendly voice at Farmington Police Department provides a daily check-in for seniors in the community.
Under the Reassurance Program, participants can call the department each weekday to check in, said Bonnie Pomeroy, office manager.
The program, started last fall, is one the department offers to the community to help ensure their well-being. Elder checks, made by department officers, also brings that reassuring check but on a once-a-month basis, she said.
And, to help citizens understand the work undertaken by the local police, the department is once again offering a Citizens Police Academy starting in February.
Participants in the Reassurance Program call in between 8 and 11 a.m. weekdays to talk with Pomeroy for a few minutes, she said.
If she has not heard from participants by 11 a.m., Pomeroy gives them a call just to be sure they have only forgotten to call, she said.
Conversation topics vary. The recent oil situation was one. During these conversations, a woman recently voiced concern about a gas line freezing. Pomeroy says she takes a couple notes during the conversation so she will remember, on another day, to inquire if the issue was resolved.
The woman has family nearby and if Pomeroy thought something did not sound right, the chat provides an opportunity for her to call family or neighbors to check on her. If no family is available, an officer would be sent out, she said.
The woman appreciates the daily call but hopes it does not create extra work for Pomeroy. The truth is it is really not difficult or cumbersome and Pomeroy enjoys the chat too, she said.
The department started the program based on a suggestion about similar programs in other towns. These aim to provide comfort and support to senior citizens and those living alone, sometimes with little other contact with community members, she previously said.
To join the program, people can call the department at 778-6311. Pomeroy will take some basic information including family or neighbors who could be contacted in case of a problem.
The elder check program varies in that officers go out to the home of participants once a month to check on the participants, listen to concerns and ensure they are living in a safe environment.
Last year, the department restarted a ten-week police academy and received some very positive reviews. A poll of participants rated the academy a 4.9 out of a possible 5.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Academy set to begin on February 21.
Some topics covered include the field training process, traffic enforcement, OUI and impaired driving, drug investigations, the use of force, criminal law, search and seizure, the K-9 Program and more.
“I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about police work, how complex every aspect of the job is … nothing like TV shows it,” one participant commented after last year’s academy.
“I would highly recommend this class(and have) to everyone,” another said.
Applications for the Citizens Police Academy can be picked up at the Farmington Police Department from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.