FREEHOLD - The Monmouth County prosecutor is pushing for more participation in the county’s special needs registry for law enforcement.

The registry allows first responders to know if a call they are answering involves a person with special needs, so that their actions during an emergency are not misunderstood. By running a plate or address, first responders learn if a person is deaf, blind, has Alzheimer’s, PTSD, mental illness or another challenge.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni points to a recent incident where a North Carolina state trooper fatally shot a deaf man during a traffic stop as a need for the registry. The victim in that situation was not able to hear the police sirens.

“If that person had registered it would say the driver of the car is deaf so that officer might have had that information ahead of time. It might have changed that interaction,” Gramiccioni says.

Organizations that advocate for the disabled are also calling for better training of officers to respond to special needs during encounters.

There are as many as 60,000 people with special needs in Monmouth County, but less than 400 people have signed up for the registry. Registration can be completed at https://www.mcsnrnj.org.