Division of Police adds program to help the elderly

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Teri Ruslander is an elder service coordinator with the Grove City Division of Police.

Teri Ruslander worked for the Grove City Division of Police for 33 years; 24 of those years were spent as a detective. She has worked violent crime cases like homicides, rapes, and robberies. However, she said it was the exploitation cases targeting the elderly that were some of her most difficult cases to work.

“Scammers pick on this population,” said Ruslander, adding that the consequences can be devastating for the victims.

That is why Ruslander was chosen for the newly created position of elder services coordinator with the Grove City Division of Police.

Ruslander retired from the police department in 2019. Now, she will serve in this civilian role on a part-time basis.

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, this position has been in the works for several years due to the increase of scams that target the more vulnerable population.

“It’s been an evolution,” said Stage. “We knew there was a need for this kind of focus, and we felt it was in the best interest of our citizens.”

The mayor said Ruslander was a perfect fit for the position because of her experience working with the elderly as a detective. While working for the police department, she became a leading state expert in elder abuse cases and dedicated her time to helping the elderly population protect themselves. In addition, Ruslander serves as a liaison for the E.L. Evans Senior Center.

“This position will go over and above what we do at the senior center,” said Stage. “It is well deserved for the senior population in the city.”

According to Ruslander, she will help senior citizens and their families connect to resources they may not know are available to them. She will work to educate seniors and those working on behalf of seniors, including clergy and assisted living employees.

“We want the families to know we are here to help them,” said Ruslander. “They are not by themselves anymore.”

Stage said the position has already been proven a success. He said the department already received a call from a senior citizen asking for help with a neighbor who was reportedly harassing the resident.

“Teri worked with the people involved and the incident has been resolved,” said the mayor.

If a senior citizen is the victim of a crime, that would be reported to the division of police and possibly forwarded to the detective’s bureau. Ruslander would also be contacted so she could put the victim and their family in touch with resources to help.

“I just love working with this population,” said Ruslander. “I get so much out of it.”

Ruslander started this new position in late May. She encourages anyone with questions or concerns to reach out to her.

“I want this program to grow and I just want to help people,” she said.

For more information about the elder services coordinator or to speak with Ruslander about concerns for the elderly, call 614-277-1741.

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