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Program allows Aurora police to check on residents

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published: August 3, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurora -- Residents, particularly elderly ones, who need to be checked on can receive daily calls from the Aurora Police Department to make sure they are safe.

It is called the R-U-OK program.

"You can call the police department and sign up for that. We will call every day," Det. Sgt. Dan Kalk explained. "You don't know when you're going to save someone's life because they can't call on the phone."

Kalk said he went on two 911 hang-up calls in about the last two years where the person dialed 911 and was unable to finish the call because of a medical emergency.

"Each time, we got an ambulance there and saved a life," he said.

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"We'll knock on the door and say, 'Is Mary OK? She didn't answer the phone today,'" Kalk said. "The person at the door may say, 'She had a medical emergency and couldn't call.'"

Kalk said when police go out to a home, if they have to go inside to make sure something's OK and they don't have access to the house, they have to break something.

"The way to avoid that is there are several types of lock boxes you can have -- sort of like a Realtor box that goes on a door knob -- and there is a combination that the police department has," he said.

"If you dial it, you can get the key out and go in. Some people have boxes that cannot be removed. We have a master key. We open that box and take out the key for the home. Some people also give us their garage door codes.

"IF YOU DON'T have that, don't worry. We're coming in, no matter what," Kalk continued. "But we'd rather do it in a way that causes the least amount of damage. We hate having to break in just to find out you're in Florida."

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Police Chief Brian Byard said it is simple for residents to supply that information to police.

"We can store any information about a house in our computer system," Byard said.

Kalk said it is confidential police information that is posted nowhere. "We even avoid printing it out," he said. "We just use it on our computers."

To contact the Aurora Police Department, call 330-562-8181.

Kalk said police also go to numerous residences where people are on vacation or out of town to check on their homes if those people alert the police.

It is called the "vacation watch" program and alleviates some concern residents may experience while away from their homes, according to police. After completing and submitting the vacation watch request form, the residence is added to a list that is distributed to the officers, who then will periodically check the residence.

People may submit their request by going on the website at www.auroraoh.com and completing, printing and returning the vacation watch form, or they can come to the police station and ask for an application at the window in the lobby.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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