Training for Emergency Responders, Public to Assist Special Needs People

A registry will be set up to better accommodate those with needs.

In response to a hike in calls to assist people with special needs, Fair Haven emergency response workers are participating in training Monday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fair Haven Firehouse.

Police have invited all to attend and released the following letter to every parent in the Fair Haven school district recently:

The Fair Haven Police Department has experienced an increase in calls for services involving individuals who have special needs.

With special needs diagnoses increasing, we know these types of calls will become more frequent. Unfortunately, at this current time, police departments throughout New Jersey and the United States lack the proper training and information that will help responding personnel deal with these incidents in a manner that is safe for all involved.

In recent months, we have come to realize that we are a department that needs better information and better training in this area, to better serve our community. Thankfully, the incidents we have experienced have ended in a positive manner, and we will strive to keep it that way.

Information is critical to our department in assisting the Fair Haven community.

We would like to develop a special needs database that would allow us to have important information about those in our community that are impacted by a disability.

The information collected will only be accessible by police department personnel. This information will be stored in two ways. First, the information will be entered into our Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) program.

This will allow officers responding to calls to have access to pertinent information specific to each individual. The CAD program we currently use is also used by multiple police agencies not only in Monmouth County but throughout New Jersey.

This will allow us to share the information with other agencies quickly and efficiently should the scope of our investigation extend beyond our jurisdiction, such as in missing persons/walk away cases. Second, the information will be stored in a three-ring binder and kept inside the police department. This will allow us access to the same information should our computer system not be functioning properly.

In order to create the database, we need your assistance. We fully understand any hesitation you may have in providing the information we are seeking, but hope that you will see this as a benefit to your child or family member.

Included in this packet is the Special Needs Registry Emergency Information Form. If you feel you need to give us more information than the form specifies, please feel free to include the additional information on a separate sheet of paper.

One in 88 children today have autism, and the statistic increases to 1 in 49 children in New Jersey. Our department has reached out to the New Jersey based organization Parents of Autistic Children (POAC) to educate and train our emergency personnel, so we can ensure that our town’s emergency service personnel are better prepared to handle situations with people impacted by this disability.

They will be providing an educational course for our police, fire, first aid and public works departments. We will also be inviting the residents of Fair Haven to attend the course so they too can take advantage of the training provided by POAC. The training date is scheduled for Dec. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the upstairs room of the Fair Haven Fire Department.

Again, the purpose of our efforts with this initiative is to better the services the Fair Haven police provide for our all of residents, including those with special needs. We feel that receiving the training from POAC and the creation of a special needs database is our department being proactive in that quest.

As always, we welcome any input or recommendations you may have that can assist us in providing a better service to you and your family. Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.


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