July 1, 2002

JULY 1, 2002

CONTACT: Charles Dow, Director Communications And Legislative Affairs 207-626-8577

Attorney General Steven Rowe today named Bath Police Department Officer Daniel Couture, 29, Elder Service Officer of the Year. Couture, a Topsham resident, is the Bath PD's liaison to seniors in the community. He is an active member of TRIAD, a national effort that depends on local partnerships between seniors and law enforcement for the purpose of preventing crime against seniors. He is a regular presence when Bath seniors get together. Bath Police Chief Pete Lizanecz called Couture "the essential link between our older folks and the police department."

The Maine Attorney General's Elder Service Officer Program was created in 1999. The Attorney General invited law enforcement agencies to designate officers to receive enhanced training in elder related law enforcement topics. There are currently over 100 Elder Service Officers in police and sheriff's departments throughout the State.

Attorney General Rowe believes the Elder Service Officers (ESOs) are becoming increasingly important because the elderly are so frequently the targets of exploitation, fraud, and abuse. Rowe instituted the Elder Service Officer Award this year to call attention to the exceptional service he sees ESOs rendering to Maine seniors. The honor will be awarded annually by the Attorney General to a law enforcement officer who performs exemplary work with seniors in the prevention of fraud, financial exploitation, and abuse.

"Our seniors deserve the best information and protection we can give them. I am proud that so many good officers like Officer Couture have taken on this special duty, and I hope all Maine communities will have ESOs in a few years," said Rowe.