Berkeley Adds Special Needs Registry Program

BERKELEY – Berkeley Township is providing a new program, free of charge, for township residents with special needs.

The Berkeley Township Special Needs Registry is meant to provide first responders with vital information about residents who have special needs. Modeling the program after the Monmouth County Special Needs Registry, Berkeley Township is one of the first towns in Ocean County to implement it.

“The Special Needs Registry is voluntary and free of charge. It is available to any resident with a special need that emergency responders should be aware of, including but not limited to, dialysis patients, wheelchair-bound elderly residents, a young child with autism, a military veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or an insulin dependent diabetic or a person who is prone to allergic reactions,” said Mayor Carmen Amato.

Police Chief Karin DiMichele reassures residents that the program is easy to use.

“Once a resident completes the special needs questionnaire, the Police Department will flag the registrant’s name and address in their Computer Aided Dispatch system,” she explained.

When someone calls 911, the registry will send police dispatchers a notification that a special needs person may be present at the location. Dispatchers can relay this information to officers,   which in turn can help them to better serve residents. 

Special needs registrants will also be given special decals that they can affix to their vehicles or homes. The decals alert officers to the presence of a special needs individual.

Amato noted that the program is completely confidential, and residents can opt out at any time. Special Needs Registry information is provided only to first responders.

If interested in joining, residents should fill out a questionnaire providing information about the special needs person and their condition, accompanied by a photo and specific details pertaining to the person’s special need.

Residents can register at twp.berkeley.nj.us. For more information, call 732-341-1132 ext. 2123 or email specialneedsregistry@btpdnj.org.

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Kimberly Bosco is the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications. A recent graduate of Rutgers University, she has spent the last four years studying both English and Journalism Media Studies. Kimberly has also recently worked for both Visit.org Dialogues @RU as a writing and editing intern.