MANKATO — Police officers in Mankato and North Mankato are hoping to find enough interest to start a local chapter of a nationwide program that creates partnerships between law enforcement officers and older residents.
An informational meeting about Triad, an organization that started in the 1980s, is scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon on the third floor of downtown's Public Safety Center. Anyone 55 or older is invited to attend.
If it gets off the ground, the new Mankato group would start out focusing on education about avoiding being a victim of a crime, quality of life, community education and involvement, and ways for law enforcement to improve services for older adults. Once the group is established, those involved will decide what to focus on, said Cmdr. Sandi Schnorenberg of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.
"We will focus on areas seniors want to focus on," she said. "One of our ideas is to have a driving presentation so they can talk about things like how to drive around semis with their blind spots, winter driving and how to properly adjust the seats in their cars."
Bert Marth of New Ulm has been involved with Brown County's Triad organization for about 15 years. She said that group meets monthly, except for the winter months to discuss a variety of issues. She said Mankato organizers will need to get enthusiastic police officers and older adults involved, keep things interesting and not let up once the group gets started.
"The whole key is you have to have law enforcement behind you to be successful," Marth said. "If they're not in your corner, it's going to be tough."
A good start would be getting the Blue Earth and Nicollet county sheriff's departments involved, too, she said.
When Schnorenberg and other officers organized a Senior Citizen Safety Camp in 2005, they tried to find older adults interested in starting a Triad group in Mankato. That didn't happen. This time Schnorenberg attended a statewide Triad conference to get ideas about how to spark interest.