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Vulnerable Adult Protection Investigative Team Meets

Effective the first of this year, the Tennessee Legislature enacted legislation requiring that each judicial district in the state establish a Vulnerable Adult Protection Investigative Team (VAPIT) for the purposes of investigation, prosecution and prevention of elder and vulnerable adult abuse.
On March 17, 2017, the VAPIT team for Coffee County and the 14th Judicial District met at the offices of the Department of Human Services, in Manchester. The VAPIT team was established through the office of District Attorney General, Craig Northcott. Assistant District Attorney, Jeff Ridner, is the District Attorney’s office representative on the team. Ridner stated: “The focus of the law and our meetings is to coordinate investigation of suspected instances of abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults that are vulnerable either due to age or some type of mental or physical challenges. Unfortunately, given the amount of thefts and forgeries we prosecute, crimes against our most vulnerable citizens are most certain to become more prevalent in the future. The focus of this team is prevention of these crimes, where possible and zealous prosecution, when necessary.”
The law requires that each judicial district establish a team to review the information regarding these potential instances of abuse, neglect or exploitation and periodically meet to review that information. The team for Coffee County is comprised of: Michele Mathes, Adult Protective Services; Butch Stewart, Manchester Police Department; Rana Pawlowski, Tullahoma Police Department; and Jason Dendy, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department.
If anyone has information relative to the abuse of a vulnerable adult, please do not hesitate to contact Adult Protective Services, local law enforcement or the office of the District Attorney.