Ask a native or a newcomer, what’s Triad and their response is likely to be, “Do you mean tripod?” or, “How do you spell that?” or, “Did you Google that on Wikipedia?”

For almost 10 years Triad volunteers have been working to improve the safety of older Waldo County citizens through education and services. Triad is a three-way partnership of seniors, law enforcement personnel and professionals from community agencies serving seniors.

Waldo County’s Triad is part of a national community-policing initiative wherein law enforcement professionals, seniors and community groups partner to meet the crime-safety needs of seniors. Triad has only two goals: To reduce crimes against the elderly, and to reduce the unwarranted fear of crime that seniors often experience.

Nationally, Triad is in its 22nd year of assisting law enforcement to keep older adults safe in their communities by using senior volunteers and those within the private sector who have a vested interest in older-adult safety. Last year, studies showed that approximately 13 percent of the 38 million Americans over the age of 65 suffered some type of abuse. The National Center for Elder Abuse indicates that up to 84 percent of elderly abuse and neglect goes unreported to authorities.

Waldo County is one of about a dozen Maine Counties with active Triad programs. In cooperation with other Maine counties Maine Triad confirmed that old and unwanted medications thrown into the trash could pose a threat to groundwater and surface water supplies in Maine, the agency said.

The Department of Environmental Protection released the test results as the Maine Legislature weighs a proposal to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for the collection and safe disposal of expired or unwanted medications. Waldo County Triad has been working with the University of Maine Center on Aging to provide a drug turn-in program. It has large postage-paid envelopes that it hands out at no cost. They can be obtained at the Belfast Police Station, or someone from Triad will bring them to those who are unable to get out. Seniors can put their unwanted medications in the envelope and drop it in the mail. It is very easy.

Waldo County Triad makes available to county seniors at no cost Files of Life and flashing yard lights to aid first -esponders in providing seniors with timely and appropriate emergency services. Triad conducts periodic surveys of the safety concerns of seniors. Action on expressed concerns and other senior issues is taken through classes and presentations. Also Waldo County Triad publishes quarterly The Triad Newsletter, containing information of importance to seniors.

To fund these services Triad engages in a number of fundraising activities throughout the year (suppers, yard sales, etc.); grant writing and donations from individuals and community groups. To become active in Triad’s broad range of activities intended to protect senior citizens in Waldo County contact Jeff Trafton, chief of the Belfast Police Department, at 338-5255.