MAYS LANDING- The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has launched the Atlantic County Special Needs Registry that will serve as a joint collaboration between the Atlantic County Prosecutors Office and all other law enforcement agencies in Atlantic County, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
The goal of the Atlantic County Special Needs Registry is to ensure that all Atlantic County residents who have Special Needs are able to receive the assistance and support they require in a time of emergency or during interaction with Law Enforcement, Fire or EMS personnel.
“We are very excited about the implementation of the Atlantic County Special Needs Registry. Early on, I, along with members of my staff, recognized the benefits of getting this information into the hands of law enforcement officers and first responders to prepare them for an encounter with a person who has special needs. Time is of the essence when law enforcement officers are dealing with issues involving a person with special needs. We are confident this tool will assist us in our efforts to serve those in need,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.
The registry is open and offered at no-cost to registrants. The information collected for the registry is private and will only be used and stored by law enforcement and first responders during times of crisis. Registrants will have the opportunity to sign up and provide key information about themselves or loved ones so that law enforcement and first responders will be more equipped to address any “Special needs” that an individual has.
“The Atlantic County Special Needs Registry is a wonderful and extremely useful tool that will allow citizens of Atlantic County and others whom visit our county to have direct communication with law enforcement and other first responders in times of need. Many people with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, and other impairments appear atypical which can sometimes cause an issue when they encounter law enforcement. This registry will provide citizens with special needs an opportunity to inform law enforcement about their condition. The focus of the Atlantic County Special Needs Registry is to give law enforcement the tools to understand who they are encountering and what their needs are,” said ACPO Victim Witness Coordinator Raymond Royster.
The ACPO Atlantic County Special Needs Registry joins the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office who unveiled in 2016, the first county special needs registry in the state of New Jersey. Stafford Township Police Department in Ocean County launched a special needs registry in 2017.
“The Monmouth County Special Needs Registry has helped to build bridges between our citizens with special needs and our law enforcement agencies, enhancing our ability to protect and serve our most vulnerable residents. We congratulate the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for extending its outreach to build these same bridges and wish them much success,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Another registry is offered through the state of NJ Office of Emergency Management, “Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters” allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency.
“I am thrilled to support the Special Needs Registry that Prosecutor Tyner is implementing. As a Board Member for FACES 4 Autism, I thoroughly understand the challenges that could arise for individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities and their interaction with law enforcement. Many of these individuals may look typical, but under stress, their behavior could mimic other issues such as mental illness, drug use, or criminal behavior. Having a registry in place will allow officers to recognize and understand these specific Individuals, their triggers, and contact information. This will create a safer and healthier environment for police and community interactions,” said Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler.
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.