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Law enforcement

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies can locate, investigate, arrest, and charge perpetrators who violate elder abuse or elder financial exploitation laws.

Investigations are often handled by detectives or referred to a county or state prosecutor for further investigation and possible indictment. Arresting officers also may collaborate with prosecutors to testify against the perpetrators.

Agencies handle cases by area, location, or case type, and some agencies provide specially trained personnel for elder abuse cases.

Additionally, Triads of the National Sheriff’s Association are partnerships among law enforcement, community groups and older adults created to raise awareness of elder abuse crimes. They are frequently led by sheriff's offices.

How they can contribute to working groups

Community outreach and education

Law enforcement can educate community members on:

  • Recognizing the signs of elder abuse in friends and family members
  • Avoiding and reporting suspected abuse, fraud, identity theft, scams and other forms of exploitation
  • Finding resources, such as adult protective services, legal services, or consumer advocacy

Policy development

Law enforcement can influence public policy by holding board member or advisory positions in community organizations.

Potential challenges

Law enforcement can face multiple challenges to contributing to the network, such as:

  • The classification of elder fraud as a civil rather than criminal matter
  • The reluctance of victims to cooperate with investigators or report exploiters who they know or may depend on
  • A lack of support from agency leadership for pursuing investigations for prosecution
  • A low percentage of full-time officers available and few resources at small agencies

Types of contacts to include in your network

  • Patrol officers (if higher-ranking office is not available)
  • Elder Service Officers (if available)
  • Financial crime investigators/detectives
  • Crime prevention officers
  • Senior services departments
  • State or local victim assistance offices
  • Deputies
  • Elected sheriffs or police chiefs
  • United States Postal Inspectors

Find your state and local law enforcement offices

Search for a Triad near you