By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Special Needs Trust Attorney

Monmouth County recently launched a countywide program designed at equipping police officers with pertinent information about residents with special needs in their respective municipalities.

This is the first countywide effort in New Jersey and one of a few nationwide. It’s a joint effort between the Monmouth County Prosecutors office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Monmouth County Chiefs of Police.

The program is voluntary and free of charge. It covers a wide range of special needs: from wheelchair-bound elderly resident to a young child with autism, or a U.S. Army Veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Approximately 10-percent of Monmouth County’s residents, or more than 60,000 people in the county, can be characterized as having special needs, citing the latest Census figures, according to the program’s initial press release.

To participate, anyone who wants to join the program must fill out a comprehensive questionnaire providing information about his or her family member with special needs. The person should provide a photo and any specific details pertaining to the person’s special need. For example, Gramiccioni said, if a young child with autism is attracted to shiny objects, that should be noted in the report.

The information, which is confidential, is readily available for dispatchers when they receive a 911 call. The dispatchers then pass the information along to the responding officers. Families who join the registry will also be given stickers for their cars and homes so that officers can spot the decals when they arrive at the scene.

It is important for police officers and other life-saving volunteers to have this information so that any circumstance involving a resident with special needs ends safely. The program is not just for law enforcement; it’s for all first-responders, including fire officials and emergency medical personnel; it’s for all our public safety personnel in Monmouth County.

The program costs around $7,000 and is being launched as a pilot program with five towns: Eatontown, Tinton Falls, Ocean Township, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright. It is funded by the prosecutor’s office’s forfeiture fund, made up of seized proceeds from criminal activity.

To discuss your NJ Special Needs Trust matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.