Local police department launches 'Operation Drop-in’ to check on elderly

Local police department launches 'Operation Drop-in’ to check on elderly

LANCASTER, S.C. — Crystal Carnes works with special needs children in the Lancaster school district. While she’s at work, her 81-year-old father, Wylie, is home alone. She hates to leave him all day in a wheelchair, even though he takes care of himself pretty well.

It’s the lack of someone to talk to that concerns her the most.

“I’d just like somebody to stop by and say, ‘Hey, we’re here if you need us,’” Carnes said.

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Now, her father will have that friend to come by, and Carnes will have some peace of mind.

Starting next week, Lancaster police officers won’t only respond to 911 calls, but also calls for a different kind of help. The department is launching “Operation Drop-in” where officers will visit seniors and other vulnerable adults and spend time with them.

Lancaster Police Department Lt. Paul Knight told Channel 9 that it’s an important step that police should be taking in the communities they serve.

“A lot of them (seniors) probably live by themselves, and this gives them somebody to talk to,” Knight said.

When officers can, they’ll do more than just check on seniors, but will visit with them, get to know them and their needs.

“Officers can really take a step back and take time and talk to them and really see how they’re doing through everything that’s going on, and what we can do really to help them,” Knight said.

The program is open to people who live in the city limits of Lancaster. Officers will respect social distancing during the visits, and wear masks as well.

People can sign themselves up, or a loved one, by calling the Lancaster Police Department, or messaging them on Facebook with information about the person asking for the weekly visit.

For Carnes and her father, it means a lot.

“Having that one person there, just for a few minutes, makes me feel better,” she said.

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