MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, County Executive Laura Curran and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder announced a joint initiative today to better connect both veteran defendants and victims to their entitled benefits and services.
During the arrest process, NCPD and NCDA staff will make inquiries of defendants and victims regarding their military service, and the information will be immediately sent to Nassau County Veterans Services Agency. Staff members of the VSA will then contact the current or former service member about benefits and services. The VSA serves veterans as an advocate for compensation, pension, education and training, vocational rehabilitation, and additional benefits for survivors, burial, and hospital care.
“Connecting veterans to crucial benefits and services will address the needs of all veteran-defendants and victims, as well as provide alternatives to incarceration,” DA Singas said. “This ‘second-chance’ approach helps offenders, or those in need of treatment, by providing them an opportunity to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction, while still holding them accountable for their actions.”
“This meaningful initiative will connect deserving veterans to essential resources,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “And thank you to the Nassau County Veterans Services Agency, which honorably serves our veterans every day. We all owe our gratitude to the men and women who have served this country.”
Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder said, “As we approach Veterans Day I would like to acknowledge the men and women who have made so many sacrifices to protect our nation. It is fitting today to announce this new initiative which will connect the Police Department and various agencies in county government to go steps further to ensure that our veterans are never forgotten and receive the best benefits possible. They will be treated with honor and respect which they always deserve. With this new approach and collective interaction, the county’s services will be far-reaching to benefit our veterans.”
The NCDA’s Office of Alternative Prosecution and Resources (PHOENIX) will spearhead this process. PHOENIX currently partners service and treatment providers with crime victims and appropriate non-violent offenders. The initiative will ensure all veterans who come into the criminal justice system are connected to veteran’s benefits without having to seek them independently. The Veterans Services Agency staff will effectively “go to them” by contacting the veterans through this outreach and connecting them with services.
This outreach and connection to all Veterans in the criminal justice system supplements the work of the Nassau County Veteran’s Treatment Court which is a dedicated court part that provides alternative dispositions to appropriate defendants who have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces (including reserves). The alternative dispositions include connections to veteran mentors and targeted services for the unique needs of our military members.