Elder Abuse and Neglect Task Force
September 7, 2004 was an historic day in Dauphin County. On that date the Dauphin County Commissioners announced the formation of the Dauphin County Elder Abuse and Neglect Task Force.
The Task Force was created in recognition of an alarming and increasing pattern of abuse, neglect and exploitation of senior citizens. This abuse and exploitation is not unique to Dauphin County. The New York Times calls elder abuse "the crime of the 90's". Since then the problem has gotten worse as the number of senior citizens has increased.
In creating this Task Force the Commissioners marshaled all of the resources of Dauphin County. The Task Force consists of members from the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging, the Dauphin County District Attorney, detectives from the Dauphin County Criminal Investigation Division, the Dauphin County Office of Victim-Witness Protection, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the United States Postal Inspector’s Office and the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, Chiefs of Police from local municipalities, representatives from the banking community and interested citizens. This coalition represents an unprecedented cooperative effort at all levels of government.
The Elder Abuse and Neglect Task Force is serving as a model for how government should work. The Task Force was created, and operates, at no cost to the taxpayers. Agencies from the state, county and local level, as well as the private sector, have come together to send the message that Dauphin County cares about its senior citizens and will go to any length to protect their health and safety.
Since its creation there have been many arrests made of individuals who have attempted to steal from Dauphin County senior citizens. For the first time in Dauphin County individuals who steal money from senior citizens are being forced to pay the money back. A clear message is being sent.
Perhaps more important than these individual successes the Task Force has created an environment in which agencies and investigators from the state, county and local levels, and the banking community, come together on a regular basis to talk about threats to our senior citizens and how we can combat these threats before a senior citizen is harmed or exploited. Protective Service Workers within the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging now have the ability and access to meet at any time with County detectives to discuss cases. Investigators and Protective Service Workers can call and meet with local police officers at any time to seek help in their investigations. The Attorney General’s Office has made its resources and specialized expertise available to the Task Force. The Office of Victim-Witness Protection is actively seeking to assist any senior citizen who may have been abused or exploited.