Stafford Police Roll Out Special Needs Registry to Better Serve Public

May 10, 2017
Courtesy of: Stafford Police

The Stafford Township Police Department is proud to announce the Special Needs Registry, a new program designed to provide first responders with vital information about residents who have special needs, in the interest of delivering the highest possible level of service and care.

Modeled after Monmouth County’s Special Needs Registry, Stafford Township’s program is the first of its kind in Ocean County. Voluntary and free of charge, the registry is available to any resident who wishes to make emergency responders aware of a disability, special need or circumstance, including but not limited to: wheelchair use, elder issues, autism, military-induced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, insulin-dependent diabetes, bee sting or other severe allergies.

“It is important for officers to have this information so that any circumstance involving a resident with special needs ends safely,” said Community Policing Officer Chris Fritz, who was instrumental in bringing the program to Stafford Township. “The information is not just for law enforcement; it’s for all first responders, including fire officials and emergency medical personnel.”

The program is simple, easy to use and confidential. Residents can register by visiting staffordpolice.org. The special needs registry section is on the homepage. Registrants are asked to provide information about the individual and the condition(s), a photo, and specific pertinent details. For example, if a young child with autism is attracted to shiny objects, that information should be noted in the questionnaire. Basic facts such as name, address, general condition and photos are mandatory, but registrants are encouraged to include any additional information that might be helpful to emergency responders. Discretion lies with the registrant and/or their caregiver.

Once a resident completes the special needs questionnaire, the police department flags the registrant’s name and address in the Computer Aided Dispatch system. When a 911 call is received from the address, police dispatchers will receive notification that a special needs person may be present at the home, which the dispatchers pass on to the responding officers. Special Needs registrants are also given decals to place visibly on their vehicles or homes to alert emergency personnel arriving on the scene.

Stafford Police Chief Thomas Dellane clarified the information is released and passed on only to first responders who need to know. “Anyone who signs up and has second thoughts can opt out of the registry,” he added. “We are stressing this because we want the residents of Stafford to understand that this program serves them as much as it assists our officers and first responders. Our number one priority is to provide the highest quality of service to our residents. This program provides us with another tool to increase the quality of the service we provide.”

Contact specialneedsregistry@staffordpolice.org with questions.

— Victoria Ford

victoria@thesandpaper.net

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