By Susan Tebben
Austintown trustees approved a measure that brings the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office closer to the senior citizens of Austintown.
The MCSO will be leasing an office within the Austintown Senior Center for $1 to become a satellite office for the Senior Services Unit.
“We felt it was greater accessibility, not just for Austintown but for those that use this service from outside of Austintown,” said Sheriff Jerry Greene.
The Senior Services Unit was established in 2007 and provides resources for seniors, emergency services, a help line and a senior-watch program, among other things. With the service, an officer is available 24 hours a day to respond to critical incidents involving the elderly.
If there’s a suspicion of abuse of a senior, for example, “they can come talk to me,” said Kay Lavelle, SSU coordinator. Lavelle is the person taking over the office in the senior center. “That’s why I’m here, to talk to them and tell them what kind of services they can have.”
Though crimes can be reported to Lavelle, who will then give them to the right resource, the unit is not just for incidents of neglect or other acts against the elderly. Lavelle also travels to seniors to speak about personal safety and programs to keep them safe.
“They can get connected and we can make their quality of life better,” she said.
Also at the meeting, trustee Jim Davis announced a meeting of the nonprofit Austintown Generational Enrichment Corp. on Monday where the group will discuss bringing a fireworks show back to Austintown for the July 4 holiday. Davis said the township will need to re-form a committee before the issue can be brought back to the table.