Sheriff reaches out to inform and protect
PHoto by Chris Wyman Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs Director/retired Sparta Police Department Detective Sergeant John Schanstra introduces the presentationís segment on preventing burglaries.
PHoto by Chris Wyman Sussex County Sheriff Michael F. Strada is shown during his introduction of his departmentís many facets and services to the community.
PHoto by Chris Wyman Seniors watch a video of a convicted burglar explaining what he used to look for before he broke into a house.
HAMBURG — Sussex County Sheriff Michael F. Strada, along with three of his staff, offered important information on Thursday, April 10, to group of more than 80 people at St. Jude's Church.
His presentation focused on two topics: His new wristband program for the county’s senior citizens and guidelines to avoid being victimized by burglaries.
With the help of Sheriff’s Assistant Hilary Manser, Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs Director and retired Sparta Police Dept. Detective Sergeant John Schanstra made a presentation on how to avoid burglaries, which included a video presentation of a convicted burglar named “Glenn” explaining how he chose houses to rob. The man had turned to thievery to fund a drug habit.
He explained that he usually targeted homes near where he lived, in this case Sparta. Part of the reason for choosing local homes is because residents often notice strange cars parked in their neighborhood. He said he looked for houses that were dark and without external motion sensor lights. He also looked for mailboxes that had more than a day’s mail in them and overgrown lawns, which suggest that the homeowners are away.
Finding a likely home, he would then ring the doorbell and if there was no answer or sounds coming from within, he would go to the rear of the house and force entry through a window. In the video, he also explained that the rooms likely to have valuables such as jewelry were most often master bedrooms and bathrooms, where someone is likely to remove their jewelry before they bathe.
The wristband program is part of the Sheriff’s Department’s TRIAD program, which focuses on the needs of the county’s senior citizens. The wristband program is funded by area businesses and organizations and is not paid for by resident’s taxes. This funding is provided by The Senior Quality of Life Foundation, Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, The Morville Agency (a Division of Bollinger Insurance), Illiff-Ruggiero Funeral Home, and The Mitchell Agency.
The black and gold silicone wristbands are offered to senior citizens at no charge. The flexible bands are engraved with “SC Sheriff 973-579-0888” and a unique four-digit registration number. That number will be used to register all participating senior citizens with the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. In the event that someone wearing a wristband is unable to communicate with emergency personnel, a simple call to the department will enable first responders to identify the person needing help.
The TRIAD organization will have on file each wearer’s name, address, phone number, emergency contact persons and the senior’s physician’s information. This information will be available to assist any police, fire, and EMS agency by calling the telephone number on the band and giving the dispatcher the registration number. Following the presentation Ken Armstrong, the sheriff’s senior Citizen representative distributed dozens of the wristbands to those present.
Contacting the Sheriff’s Office to arrange a presentation for your organization is encouraged. If you are interested in learning more about the TRIAD program or are interested in sponsoring the wristband program, please contact Hilary Manser at the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office at 973-579-0850, Ext. 2114.
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