The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced that the Justice Center conducted several trainings and presentations in September, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to educate provider agencies and caregivers about incident reporting and the Justice Center’s abuse prevention initiatives, and to enhance the knowledge and skills of their investigators.

The Justice Center conducted the training sessions and education and outreach presentations at locations in Albany County, Dutchess County, Erie County, New York City, Long Island, Niagara County, Otsego County, Warren County and Westchester County to staff and investigators employed by both state and non-state operated service providers. Some presentations were made in conjunction with service provider agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Investigative Training

The Justice Center trains investigators and law enforcement personnel on appropriate and effective methods to investigate allegations that people with special needs have been abused or neglected.

“The Justice Center works diligently to ensure law enforcement officers in agencies across New York State have the skills and information they need to complete thorough investigations,” said Larry Murello, who directs the Justice Center’s Law Enforcement Training Academy. Justice Center training includes instruction on evidence collection, deception detection, interviews of people with disabilities, and investigation report writing.

The Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) provided training in Schenectady and Westchester counties to 35 investigators who work for state agencies and local providers overseen by the Justice Center. LETA also trained 27 experienced police officers on laws governing mandated reporting of incidents of abuse and neglect of people with special needs. The Justice Center additionally provided ongoing training to 174 of its investigators in Albany. To view the Justice Center’s training schedule, follow this link: https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/media/news/training-opportunities.

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center staff also reaches out across the state to provider agencies and their staff to be sure they understand the importance of reporting abuse and neglect and how the investigatory process works.

“At the Justice Center, we understand that we need to visit employees at or near their work sites to be sure they fully understand the importance of incident reporting and what the investigative process entails,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support Davin Robinson. “It is terribly important to every one – most especially the people who receive services - that providers and their employees understand what they need to do when incidents occur.

In September, staff from the Justice Center presented at conferences and meetings hosted by the Self Advocacy Association of New York State, the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Annual Conference, NYS Work-Life Services - Employee Assistance Program, and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and to ensure that all allegations of abuse or neglect are reported and fully investigated. The Justice Center investigates, reviews and makes findings when it receives reports of abuse and neglect by staff – including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants, or contractors – against individuals who receive services.  

The Justice Center’s primary purpose and responsibility is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people with special needs who receive services or supports from state operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs. The Justice Center oversees facilities or programs operated, licensed or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the State Education Department (SED).

Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200