TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - As we age we may out-live our spouses and friends or lose touch with family. In Travis County, seniors have a new friend they can rely on to check on them. Precinct 5 deputy constables have created a program called Silver Watch. Their efforts are the feature of this week's Crimewatch.
Usually when constables knock on doors, it's to serve warrants. Today Travis County precinct five Constable Carlos Lopez is providing a new kind of service. It comes from the heart.
"Good morning! I'm here to check on you," said Lopez.
Behind the door is one of several participants in a program Lopez created called Silver Watch.
Lopez got the idea after his mother's passing and then hearing of the tragic circumstances in which a co-worker lost their father.
"One of my employee's dad fell in the backyard and he went to check on him and turns out he was there almost two days. Ended up dying of dehydration," said Lopez.
Lopez decided his deputies could play a role in keeping seniors safe.
"Our officers are out there already in the precinct working," said Lopez. "It's not going to take but a couple minutes to stop by, knock on the door and say, 'are you okay, do you need anything?'"
To find participants, Lopez teamed up with Meals on Wheels Central Texas.
"This is like an extra separate set of eyes and ears out there," said Meals on Wheels Spokesperson Thad Rosenfeld.
Meals on Wheels Spokesperson Thad Rosenfeld says volunteers deliver food to 3,000 people a day. The majority are seniors. They are as old as 104.
"These folks get lonely. A lot of them are widows or widowers. They live alone so often times the only folks they see are our volunteers delivering that noon time meal," said Rosenfeld.
Deputies under Lopez's watch will stop by homes a couple times a week. He says they’re already finding things they did not expect.
At one home, Lopez discovered a woman's one smoke detector was not working and her A/C was out.
"When I came there were several fans throughout on the floors and throughout the rooms," he said.
While the air-conditioning is still a work in progress, Lopez was able to get the fire department to install three new smoke detectors.
Right now the program is in a pilot phase. Lopez hopes to expand it to precincts throughout the county. His initial role was to conduct the first visit, but it seems he will continue checking in on his new friends.
"I've fallen in love with each one of these clients. They remind me of my mother, they really do," said Lopez.