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Monday, June 14, 2010— Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart will partner with law enforcement leaders from across the city and suburbs Tuesday morning to discuss the thousands of elder abuse cases encountered by police officers throughout Illinois every year and ways that law enforcement can better identify signs of abuse.

The Suburban Chiefs of Police Elder Abuse Forum is set for 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Robert Collins Building at Triton College, 2000 N. 5th Ave. in River Grove. It’s happening in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Police from every suburban town and township are expected to attend the forum, which is co-sponsored by AgeOptions, a non-profit organization that has provided services to Cook County seniors for nearly 40 years. Dart partnered with the group two years ago to increase services aimed at reducing instances of elder abuse.

The forum will include presentations by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Chicago Police Department, including their specialized Financial Crimes Unit. Scams targeting seniors will also be discussed, while Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O’Connell will explain programs that find seniors partnering with law enforcement.

The event is aimed at educating police officers about the types of elder abuse cases they may encounter, whether it’s neglect, physical, mental or financial abuse. Joining police at the forum will be officials from the Illinois Department of Aging and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, each of whom will discuss programs for the elderly, while prosecutors will explain the process for prosecuting an elder abuse case.

Last year there were over 11,000 cases of elder abuse reported in Illinois, with more than 1,700 taking place in suburban Cook County alone.  It is estimated that for every case reported, as many as ten more cases go unreported.

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