Denison launches new lockbox program for seniors

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Denison police are rolling out a program that would provide senior citizens with a lockbox that will give officers access to a house in the event of an emergency.

Denison Police have a new tool when checking in on the city's eldest residents.

A new senior lockbox program was launched Monday that will allow officers to have access to a key to the homes of senior citizens in the event of an emergency or welfare call.

The program will be focused on Denison residents over the age of 65 who live alone and may not be able to answer the door readily. Police officials said the program may also be open to those who are younger but have medical issues that keep them from being able to go to the door.

"It could be a welfare concern or sick call or whatever it may be," Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said.

Seniors who sign up for the program will receive a lockbox from the department which will be installed at the house. In the event of a call where no one answer the door, an officer will be given a passcode to retrieve a key to the residence.

"If we get a call in the system, it will flag it showing there is a lockbox at the residence and would give us the combination code to get in, if it needs to happen."

Eppler said the program has successfully been used in other departments across the region, which led the city to consider their own options. The program provides an alternative to forcefully entering a home that leaves no damage to the home.

In recent months, the department needed to force entry in a few calls. However, the lockbox program provides a better solution.

"From time to time we have to make forced entry into a house and there is a couple reasons we don't want to do that," Eppler said. "Obviously, we don't want to cause property damage, but also it takes time to do things like that."

Senior lockbox program for residents who are 65 years old or older and could possibly not get to the door in the event of an emergency.

Eppler said he did not know of any calls or requests to have lockboxes installed on the first day of the program, but he expects they will come as the news spreads.