Vulnerable Adult Task Force Forming

SNOW HILL — In an effort to better protect the community’s elderly citizens from becoming victims of crime and other issues, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office is collaborating with local law enforcement agencies on the creation of a vulnerable adult task force.

The elderly in the community are vulnerable to frauds, scams and other crimes throughout the year. In some cases, there have been incidents of elderly citizens being victims of fraudulent schemes such as paying contractors up front for work that isn’t completed. In other instances, particularly during the upcoming time of holiday giving, some elderly citizens in the community fall victim to phony charity scams, for example.

To that end, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office is partnering with law enforcement and other agencies in the community including the Department of Social Services and the Worcester County Health Department to create a vulnerable adult task force. The concept is to create a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to the swift and thorough investigation of criminal complaints involving vulnerable adult victims.

Task force members will meet monthly to determine the best strategies for simultaneously achieving justice, preventing re-victimization and providing for the needs of each victim, according to Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser.

“As a task force, we are committed to providing practical solutions for our vulnerable adults,” she said. “Aside from conducting a criminal investigation, police officers have been limited in the type of assistance they can offer to senior citizens who are in obvious need of additional help. For these cases, our partnering agencies will collaborate with law enforcement to offer resources, meet these needs and provide ongoing services for seniors.”

Heiser said the task force and allied agencies will leave no stone unturned as they attempt to protect some of the most vulnerable in the community.

“We are doing everything in our power to prevent the physical, financial and emotional victimization of our community’s vulnerable adults and to hold those who take advantage of them accountable,” she said. “With the creation of this task force, we are placing a special emphasis on these cases to drive home the message that our team will go the extra mile to protect our seniors and prosecute offenders.”

To raise awareness about issues affecting seniors, the State’s Attorney’s Office will host a table at the Senior Living Expo at the Ocean Pines Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 from 9 a.m.-noon.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.