MAYS LANDING- The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Veteran’s Diversion Program is seeking veterans of all military branches to enlist as volunteer mentors. Volunteer mentors are linked with particular vets to help shepherd them through the process of the ACPO Veteran’s Diversion Program, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
Volunteer Mentors are trained by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) in working with fellow veterans through the diversion process. DMAVA Veterans Service Officers can be helpful sources of assistance in claims work, VA health-care referrals, educational assistance through the GI Bill, property tax deductions or exemptions, Civil Service Veterans Preference, death benefits, homeless veterans resources, State health-care services for veterans, etc.
Guideline for Mentors
A mentor’s first obligation is to support the Veteran. The mentor will protect a Veteran’s welfare and diligently seek to assist the Veteran in achieving his or her goals.
· Always act in the best interest of the Veteran.
· Act in a professional manner when representing the program and the sponsoring agencies in the community.
· Refer the Veteran to other agencies/organizations only after conferring with an appropriate official.
· Work with appropriate officials to resolve any conflicts that might arise.
· Mentor within the limits of your training and competency.
· Refrain from attempting to instill your personal values, lifestyle or beliefs in the Veteran.
· Be honest and do not promise any better outcome than can be expected.
· Do not exploit the Veteran or any agency for personal advantage.
· Refrain from involvement in any monetary business with the Veteran.
· Harassment of any type or kind will not be tolerated (physical, verbal or mental). Any report of inappropriate behavior will be investigated and legal action may be initiated.
· Personal information about the Veteran is confidential. Only provide personal information relating to the Veteran to persons that he or she has identified in a signed release form.
· Inform the Veteran that it will be necessary for you to report illegal or destructive behavior to the appropriate official.
Under the VDP, eligible veterans who are charged with certain qualifying crimes may be eligible for diversion to rehabilitative treatment in lieu of the traditional criminal justice process. The program involves intensive supervision and monitoring of a veteran’s treatment by an applicable treatment provider, the Veterans Administration (VA), this Office, and a volunteer mentor assigned to support the veteran. Participants must meet all diversion requirements to remain in the VDP, and the program must be successfully completed within two years from the date of diversion. Veterans admitted into the program are expected to regularly attend counseling and, where applicable, receive mental health or substance abuse treatment in accordance with VDP conditions. A veteran who successfully completes the terms and conditions of this program to the satisfaction of the prosecutor, has not been the subject of any subsequent criminal charges and continues to make progress with mental health and/or substance abuse treatment shall have his/her charges dismissed.
To be eligible for the VDP, the applicant must be an Active (to include Reserve and National Guard servicemembers) or former member of the United States armed forces and the charges must have some causal relation to their military service. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office retains sole discretion over who is admitted into the VDP. Veterans charged with more serious, violent crimes will not be deemed eligible for VDP participation.
For more information, please contact Chief Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (609) 909-7800.
Veterans who are currently pending criminal charges in Superior Court should consult with their attorney or visit http://www.acpo.org/forms/veterans-diversion-program.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.