Police Chief Brian Ohlin, left, and Lieutenant Robert Safran celebrate veterans at the Veterans Day breakfast last year. The veterans outreach program began shortly after this event.
ALYSSA ALFANO / GAZETTE Enlarge
BRUNSWICK — Police Lt. Robert Safran, while sitting at his desk in his quiet office on Tuesday afternoon, spoke about the veterans outreach program as its first year draws to an end.
The police department program was kick-started by Safran who also is an Army veteran and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Brunswick.
“The veterans outreach program is essentially veterans looking after other veterans,” said Safran. “What we do here at the police department is, I have group of officers who are veterans themselves from any one of the branches of the military … basically our veteran officers go out and do welfare checks on them (veterans in the city),” said Safran.
Safran said that, in his time as an officer who has done welfare checks on veterans, he’s learned that a lot of veterans usually just want someone with which to share a cup of coffee and talk.
Safran said that there are currently four officers who are veterans who work with him to make this program possible.
They go out into the community to conduct welfare checks and speak with the eight veterans who they visit on a regular basis.
“I think that veterans are often more receptive sometimes to speaking to someone who is a veteran themselves,” said Safran. “The main thing is that we want to be able to check on each other and take care of each other. … It’s just fellowship among veterans.”
In addition to providing fellowship, a sense of community and a sense of safety to veterans, the outreach program attempts to give these individuals the resources they need to get by.
“In the long term, what we’d like to do is, if those veterans in the community are living on their own and need assistance, we link them up with existing services” said Safran.
Whether their need is financial, health care, education, or something else, the police department works with the Medina County Service Office to get veterans the resources and help that they need.
“We try to link up a veteran to any service they might need,” said Safran.
Any veterans who wish to be apart of this program can contact Lt. Robert Safran at the Brunswick Police Department, (330) 225-9111.