Police launch Project ‘I Live Alone’

Published 6:30 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

Washington Police Department will launch a new program on April 1, one intended to make sure the elderly and disabled who live alone have the support they need.

It’s the “I Live Alone” program, where weekly calls or home visits by police, checking in to make sure everything’s OK, will give those enrolled in the program an additional layer of security — of health and home.

“The program is to help those families that live out of town or down the street, but due to a busy schedule may fall short of time to check on loved ones,” a program description reads. “The program gives its participants the assurance of someone watching out for them, and helping when assistance is needed.”

WPD Community Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Grimes is organizing this newest arm of the department’s community outreach, with the assistance of Washington police dispatch. Grimes refers to it as an opportunity to engage a segment of the community that WPD has not yet been able to focus on. While WPD has increasingly reached out to build better relationships with the people it serves, that’s been primarily through the children of the community in the past. But there are many reasons to make it a focus now, Grimes said.

“First, it’s to build a better relationship with that particular population,” Grimes said. “Second, it kind of gives you that one on one connection, because a lot of times they live alone — a lot of times, they don’t have that family support. … Third, it actually gives them the opportunity to know the officers that actually work in their community.”

Grimes said the program will be particularly helpful during potential emergency situations, like a hurricane.

“If they are concerned that no one will be able to get to them, they go on a priority list,” Grimes said. “It’s going to tell us what their limitations are; what things we need to be watching for.”

The elderly or disabled residents of Washington who live alone are simply asked to fill out a form to enroll. It asks for basic information like address, phone numbers and emergency contacts, before going into more detailed information about general health/illnesses, allergies and special needs.

All calls/visits will be made to enrolled residents as time and staff permit; two calls will be made before emergency contacts are notified. In exchange, those enrolled in the program are asked to advise police of any extended absences from home.

Registration for the program begins April 1. Those interested in the program are asked to call the following numbers to sign up: the Washington Police Department at 252-946-1444 or Kimberly Grimes at 252-943-1715.