Oneida County Announces ASCEND Program

County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Sheriff Robert M. Maciol today announced Oneida County’s new ASCEND program that will assist first responders in identifying individuals with special needs during interactions and in emergency situations.

The ASCEND (Assistance for Special, Cognitive, Emotional Needs & Disabilities) program will allow residents with preexisting mental health concerns, developmental disabilities, health conditions, or religious or cultural considerations, to voluntarily submit their information to the county so that law enforcement and fire and EMS personnel are aware of their needs and can provide the proper support and resources.

“Times of crisis can be stressful for all parties involved, and this type of situation can be unnecessarily elevated when first responders are unaware of special needs and conditions,” Picente said. “The ASCEND program will help to ensure that our residents who have such needs are identified immediately and provided the additional support and resources they require. Awareness and understanding are the keys to remedying these issues in the safest manner possible.”

Those signing up to participate in the ASCEND program, will supply the county identifying information and a photo, as well as any special needs or conditions they have such as:

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Communication, Visual or Hearing Impairments
  • Dementia
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Disruptive Impulse/Conduct Disorder
  • Dissociative Disorder
  • Electronic Device Dependent (i.e. use of a table to communicate)
  • Hording/Household Hazards
  • Mobility Impairment and Motor Disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder
  • Trauma and/or Stress Disorder
  • Neurocognitive Disorder
  • Religious or Cultural Considerations
  • Service Animal Use

Program members will have the option to provide first responders with any potential triggers, calming methods, communication impairments and frequented locations.

Information volunteered to the ASCEND program is strictly confidential and will only be shared by Oneida County with first responders during an emergency or for the purpose of planning an emergency response.

“The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is striving to implement several initiatives related to mental health and disability awareness in order to deliver an appropriate, sensitive response to individuals in the community,” Maciol said. “The ASCEND program provides our office and other emergency personnel with a tangible toolkit necessary to achieve the goal of maintaining high professional standards and continuing to pursue our mission to safeguard life, property and public order.”

Program applications are available at the Sheriff’s Office website here, the Oneida County Government website here or by visiting the Sheriff’s Office at 6065 Judd Road in Oriskany.

Participants will also receive window decals that can be placed in vehicles or homes that will identify them as a member of the ASCEND program.

Program questions can be directed to the Oneida County Planning Department by calling 315-798-5710 or emailing planning@ocgov.net with “ASCEND Program” in the subject line.