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 December and January, 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 investigators.

The Justice Center conducted the training sessions and education and outreach presentations at locations in Albany, Schenectady and Suffolk counties 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’s Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) in December provided training for the International Association of Chiefs of Police on “Leadership In Police Organizations.” This course, administered together with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, involved 36 investigators employed by the Justice Center and members of local police departments from across the State. LETA additionally provided investigations training in Syracuse to 12 investigators working for provider agencies and state agencies along with 29 provider and state investigators on Long Island in January. Disabilities Awareness Training was provided to 26 law enforcement officers from four local police departments on Long Island in January as well.

“The Justice Center works diligently with state agencies, providers, and local law enforcement officials to ensure officers are equipped to understand the unique circumstances involving cases of people with special needs,” said Larry Murello, Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. 

You can view the Justice Center’s training schedule here: https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/media/news/training-opportunities.

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center also works in partnership with provider agencies and their staff in training everyone involved with the care of people with special needs about the importance of reporting abuse and neglect, and their obligations under the law. “The Justice Center works with staff with an eye toward preventing abuse and neglect, and ensuring staff members who provide care for people with disabilities understand their responsibility to report such incidents when they occur,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention, and Support Davin Robinson.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and to ensure 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).

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