WOODMERE — Councilwomen Vivian Walker and Glenda Todd-Miller proposed a $600 senior watch program with double-sided door placards for older residents, but the plan drew criticism from Law Director Frank Consolo. The proposal uses a door hanger to indicate whether a senior needs assistance, but does not replace emergency services such as police, fire and EMS.

The placard would have green on one side and red on the other side. The green side facing the street would indicate that all is well, while the red side facing out would mean that the resident could use assistance, according to a document provided by Ms. Todd-Miller and Ms. Walker in April. Mr. Consolo, however, said that he has “serious concerns” about such a program.

“I’m not thrilled with that type of situation,” he said during the Finance Committee meeting on Monday.

Mr. Consolo said that although the program is not intended to replace emergency services, some seniors might misunderstand it and use the placard for an emergency when they should call 911.

Ms. Todd-Miller said that the placards would be monitored by the police officers while they are on regular patrols and the service department employees while they are working throughout the village. She said that she and Ms. Walker would peruse the streets as well to check on the placards and would respond within 24 hours. According to Ms. Todd-Miller, the seniors could use this service for assistance filling out the 2020 census or advice on grocery delivery or prescription pick-ups.

“It’s just a service that way,” she said. “It has nothing to do with emergency medical services.”

Mr. Consolo said that if the village informs the residents that there will be routine police patrols to look for these door hangers, that “opens up a whole can of worms.” The law director explained that he is hesitant with the proposal, which may also add a burden to the police and fire departments.

Chairwoman of the Finance Committee Lisa Brockwell said that she liked the concept but was concerned because the placards would identify where senior citizens live, who are a more vulnerable population. She said that perhaps the women could find another idea, such as volunteers calling seniors as a welfare check.

“I just want to say I love how council is being creative and trying to protect our seniors,” she said.

Fire Chief Johnny Brewington advised that the proposal be referred back to the Safety Committee for further review.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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