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AG NAMES ELDER SERVICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR
September 2, 2003
SEPTEMBER 2, 2003
MICHAEL WEBBER, ELDER FRAUD INVESTIGATOR, 207-626-8800
Attorney General Steven Rowe will present Cape Elizabeth Police Officer Paul Gaspar with the 2002 Elder Service Officer of the Year Award on Tuesday, September 2nd at 10 AM at the Cape Elizabeth Police Department. Gaspar, 32, of South Portland, has served as the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) in Cape Elizabeth since 1996. Gaspar serves on the Elder Service Officer steering committee through the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and has helped coordinate two statewide trainings for other elder service officers.
Rowe selected Gaspar for his leadership in the community in creating the citizens’ police academy, which held its first graduation earlier this year. He is an active member of the local TRIAD, a national effort that depends on local partnerships between seniors and law enforcement for the purpose of preventing crime against seniors. He also serves on the statewide TRIAD steering committee and has helped other area communities start TRIAD programs. Rowe said, “Officer Gaspar is not afraid to break new ground. When he sees a need for something, he makes it happen.”
Cape Elizabeth Police Chief Neil Williams said, "Paul Gaspar has been instrumental in helping bring the seniors of this community together with law enforcement. He has taken his vision and watched it grow into a partnership for all. Officer Gaspar truly deserves this recognition."
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 are becoming increasingly important because the elderly are so frequently the targets of exploitation, fraud, and abuse. Rowe instituted the Elder Service Officer Award last year to call attention to the exceptional service he sees ESOs rendering to Maine seniors. The honor is 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 law enforcement officers like Paul Gaspar have taken on this special duty, and I hope all Maine communities will have Elder Service Officers in a few years," said Rowe.