Ocean County Launches Game-Changing Special Needs Registry
Ocean County now has a groundbreaking Special Needs Registry that will help law enforcement, firefighters, and ems interact and work with members of our community who may need special assistance on certain calls. .
This is a collaborative effort that now brings together and manages the registry between the Ocean County District Attorney’s Office, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association. .
This registry has also been a focal point for Ocean County Attorney Bradley Billhimer to implement in our communities.
“Ocean County Special Needs Registry is something close to my heart,” Billhimer told Townsquare Media News. “It’s something we’ve been working on launching now, and we went live effectively on March 1st, but it took all the resources we had within the Chiefs Association, the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office. sergeant. (Melissa) Rose did a lot of leg work and a lot of work to get to the finish line.”
It is a utility type program with multiple agencies involved, focused on improving arrivals, responses and communications on a variety of calls and situations.
“What I think it really accomplishes is helping law enforcement and helping the community to really protect our most vulnerable members. I think it’s important every time we interact with the public, from a law enforcement perspective, the more we know about the interaction, I think the better for the officer and for the person on the other side of that interaction,” Billhimer said.
It is a voluntary program for anyone who lives and works in Ocean County, offered via the OCSNR website where you can register.
“Then local municipalities, the sheriff’s office, and our office will obviously be aware of that person’s special needs if we are responding at home or at a motor vehicle stop, or in any type of situation,” a said Billhimer. “This knowledge is essential, and I believe it will lead to better interactions with law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Communication and change of approach on these types of calls is something that will help everyone involved in any given situation.
“We want them to have this better approach,” OCPO Sgt. Melissa Rose told Townsquare Media News.
sergeant. Rose explains that this is going to help officers’ police response, “having this information knowing that they’re not just responding to a crisis call, but there’s another side to the call, someone who has special needs, they can just respond appropriately, they can provide them with the services they need.”
Communication is essential in many if not all aspects of our daily lives and can play a key and critical role in a police response for both law enforcement and community members.
When you register on the OCSNR websiteyou will be able to interact with an officer during the setup phase.
“Besides the website created for people to register, each department has also designated a Special Needs Registry Liaison, because what we want for people who register is to have that touch and that personal communication, and who they can talk to if they have a problem,” Rose said.
The register and more specifically the liaison officer, who is a trained police officer, will allow you to update information, photos and discuss any concerns or positives about how any event went. interaction with the police.
“We understand this is in place, but this will only be level one, we want this to continue to progress and improve our relationship with the community,” Rose said.
As part of your register entry, you will have the option of receiving a special sticker to be affixed to the window of your vehicle.
“Power can go out, power can go out, these decals are going to ensure that no matter what obstacles are present, an officer has the best opportunity to understand whether they are stopping a vehicle, stopping a vehicle, or assisting a vehicle to respond to a home that needs extra attention,” Rose said.
The Ocean County Special Needs Registry is a multi-faceted response initiative aimed at helping much more than just responding to a crime and with liaison in particular there will be a follow-up to a response, but that does not mean not that you are in trouble.
“To be clear, a follow-up with our liaison is not a knock on the door,” Rose said. “It’s a phone call just to say ‘hey, my name is…and I’m here for you’.”
Not the first special needs registry in Jersey Shore or New Jersey, but still among the first.
“I think we’re about the 4th county in the state to accomplish this because it’s a huge undertaking in terms of building a website, getting county support and I want to thank the Ocean County Commissioners, the Ocean County IT Department – they were really instrumental in fixing all the issues on the website to make sure everything was working,” Billhimer said.
You can read more about Attorney Billhimer and Sergeant. Pink here:
The Special Needs Registry has shown just how effective it can be over the past few years on the Jersey Shore alone.
In April 2016, the Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office under Acting District Attorney Chris Gramiccioni and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Shaun Golden unveiled the SNR in Monmouth County. where several hundred agents were trained and briefed on the implementation of the program in their communities.
There was one particular case in recent memory where this program made a huge difference in September 2021 in Spring Lake Heightswhere the police helped calm a child with special needs following an accident.
In May 2017, Stafford Township Police Department in Ocean County unveiled its own SNR program for their community, which was also the first such program in Ocean County.
In July 2021, Manchester and Lakehurst Police have teamed up to form a similar program to SNR called ‘Operation Insight’ to help answer calls with a resident with special needs.