Murphy Police ask the elderly, homebound, R-U-OK?
Scheduled call-out system keeps tabs automatically
The ever-increasing number of people entering their golden years who choose to live alone has served as the inspiration to develop the R-U-OK system, says Police Chief GM Cox, PhD.
“Lately, we’ve had a few instances where senior citizens have become disoriented,” he said. “When they leave the safety of their homes, not only can it become dangerous for the individual, but it is also becomes extremely worrisome for the family. Having an R-U-OK check in place may alleviate some of that worry.”
R-U-OK is an acronym for “Are You OK,” a system that automatically makes regular telephone calls to subscribers. Participants authorize calls to their homes and choose a preferred time for a call. If the subscriber answers the phone, then the system assumes that the subscriber is not in danger and resets itself for the next scheduled call.
“However, if the system does not detect a response from a live person, the system sends a warning to the dispatcher who then directs a police officer to check on the subscriber,” said the Chief. “Our officers will conduct a thorough welfare check and attempt to determine why the call was not answered.”
The program is specifically designed to maintain telephone surveillance on people, especially elderly, who live alone, who may be homebound or who are unable to seek help on their own.
“People may choose to live alone or live alone because of other circumstances, but they do not want to be forgotten,” he added. “This system allows us to reach them automatically, reliably and in an unobtrusive manner.”
There is no cost to the subscriber and the information placed into the computer-generated call-out system is not shared or made public. The information may also include emergency phone numbers, names and numbers of relatives, physicians, hospitals and a brief medical profile.
Like mail delivery, the system can be disabled during vacations or extended absences with a call to the non-emergency police department phone number (972) 468-4200.
To subscribe, participants may call or visit either the Murphy Police Department’s Administrative department or the Communications Center at (972) 468-4235. When subscribing, an officer will be dispatched to the requestor’s residence to take the needed information for the system.
“The R-U-OK system is another way that we monitor the well-being of people without actually knocking on doors or making calls manually. For someone who lives alone, or their family members, this can be a vital lifeline,” concluded the Chief.