Burlington County offers safety and security programs for seniors

Sheriff’s department accepting appointments to perform free home security and safety inspections

Special to The Sun: Burlington County Undersheriff Jim Kostoplis (center) teamed with sheriff’s agents Jackie Moore (right) and Joe Matthews to address residents at the Pemberton Township Senior Center about safety and security measures and programs offered by the sheriff’s department to assist seniors.

The Burlington County Sheriff’s Department wants county seniors and residents with disabilities to feel safe and secure in their homes.

To assist them, the department is accepting appointments to perform free home security and safety inspections. During the inspections, a specialist goes through a resident’s home and then makes recommendations for various safety or security improvements or modifications that may be needed.

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The specialists will also provide and install certain security items at no charge, including door and window locks, door viewers (peep holes), reflective house numbers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, emergency flashlights and medical-information packets.

More than 100 home security and safety inspections have been performed through June, putting the department on pace to surpass 200 this year.

“Keeping Burlington County residents safe is our top priority and these home inspections are an essential part of that mission,” said Burlington County Undersheriff Jim Kostoplis. “Our specialists perform thorough inspections to make sure that all available precautions are in place and that the residents are educated about everything they need to know about home security. It’s a free program that’s available to any Burlington County senior or disabled resident and we want to encourage them to take advantage of it.”

Interested residents should call the Sheriff’s Home Security Unit at (609) 265-5796 to receive an application for an inspection or go online to https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/143/Home-Security-Inspections.

In addition to the inspections, the sheriff’s department has scheduled a Senior Citizens Police Academy for this fall. During the academy, participating seniors attend weekly classes to learn more about law enforcement and safety issues important to seniors.

All Burlington County seniors are eligible to enroll. Classes will be held for seven consecutive Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. beginning on Sept. 15 through Oct. 27. Space is limited, call (609) 265-3788 for more information.

The academy and free home security inspections are among several services offered by the Sheriff’s Department specifically to assist Burlington County seniors. Some of the others include:

  • Distributing free 911 cell phones. Seniors who don’t have a cell phone but wish to have one for emergencies are eligible to receive a free phone programmed to call 911. The phones are donated to the sheriff’s department and then re-programmed so they can operate as an emergency resource for seniors inside and outside their homes. To request a cell phone, contact the Sheriff’s Community Services Unit at (609) 265-3788.
  • Persons at Risk Registry. The program allows law enforcement to quickly identify persons with Alzheimer’s, mental disabilities or other conditions that could impair their memory, cause them to become disoriented or have difficulties communicating if they become lost. Participating individuals or families provide a passport quality photograph and pertinent information about a person who may potentially be at-risk. If that person is located, the information can be used to quickly identify and return them safely to their home. It’s a free service and all information is kept strictly confidential and is not used for any other purpose. For more information or to enroll, call (609) 265-3788.
  • Senior Photo IDs. The sheriff’s department will provide a color photo ID card to Burlington County seniors that can be used as a second means of photo ID with a regular state or federal photo ID card. The ID card also lists important information such as emergency contact, allergies and medical conditions, living will or organ donor information. For more information or to make an appointment for a card, call (609) 265-3788.

“Burlington County is a fantastic place to live for all ages and we want all our residents to feel safe and secure here,” Kostoplis said. “These services are designed to give seniors the knowledge and resources they need to remain safe during emergencies and to protect themselves from accidents, scams or other crimes.”

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