Are You Okay?

Dear Seniors,

My name is Lynetta Slaton, Support Services commander with the Bowie Police Department. As a dispatcher for 29 years at the Bowie Police Department, I've handled many emergency calls, some from older adults who live alone that need prompt medical attention. In most cases, they could get to the phone or had someone to check on them. But what if that wasn't the case? How could we know they need help? Well now there is a way. We have a computerized calling system called Are You Okay? The program is working in many towns throughout the United States, and lives have been saved. I know the importance of quick action. This program is working! The program is offered free of charge and is confidential. The program takes the fear out of being alone and reassures and eases the concerns of friends and relatives who may find it difficult to maintain consistent, reliable contact.

How the Program Works

The Are You Okay? program uses a computer that will call you at a time specified by you each day. The computer will call you and once it hears you answer the phone, it will know that you are okay. Should you have an answering machine or voice mail, the computer will ask you to push a button on your touch-tone phone in order to ascertain that you are okay. If you do not answer the phone or your line is busy, the computer will call you back within a half-hour. If you do not answer the second time, the police dispatcher will be notified and will attempt to call you and your contact relatives or friends to see if they know where you might be. If these attempts are unsuccessful, an officer will be dispatched to your home to check on you. We will also attempt to make contact with your listed key holder so that we may enter the home to see if you are in distress.

You should know that if we cannot make contact with your listed key holder, the officer will use any means necessary to enter your home and make sure you are not in need of help. The officer will do everything possible to minimize any damage, but some damage may occur. Every effort will be made to make sure your home is secure before the officer leaves. It is important, therefore, to make sure you keep us informed if you go on vacation, enter the hospital, or will not be home at your designated time for your daily Are You Okay? call. Just call the police station and let the dispatcher know you will not be home so we do not have to bother your emergency contacts or enter your home needlessly.

How to Sign Up

If this program interests you, please come by the Bowie Police Department at 302 Lindsey Street to fill out an application. You are asked to provide the name and phone number of a friend or relative who lives nearby, preferably one who has a key to your residence. The information you provide will be kept in confidence at the police station. It will not be used for any other purpose or given to anyone. You are also asked to specify a time for your daily call. The computer is only capable of making calls at the top of the hour (such as at 8:00 am or 9:00 am). The computer begins making calls at 7:00 am every day, and you may choose any time you wish.

We have expanded this service to include residents who reside within Montague County. If you do not live within the City of Bowie, but you do live within Montague County, you can take advantage of our system by contacting the Montague County Sheriff's Department at 940-894-2871 or call the Bowie Police Department at 940-872-2251.