Helping crime victims

is a priority for N.J.

Law enforcement and victim advocates marked national Crime Victims' Rights Week from April 21-27. This year's theme, "New Challenges/New Solutions," encouraged us to focus on concerns such as mass shootings, human trafficking and elder fraud. My office is deeply engaged on all these fronts.

Last August, Gov. Chris Christie signed "Alex DeCroce's Law," which updates and strengthens New Jersey's existing Crime Victims Bill of Rights. In that same spirit, I have made fighting human trafficking a top priority for my office. Last year, I directed law enforcement to increase prosecutions of human trafficking and to rescue victims, and I created a new Human Trafficking Unit, which has already made significant arrests.

Also, through a partnership between law enforcement and houses of worship, we have been able to sponsor gun buybacks in communities across New Jersey. These efforts led to more than 9,000 guns being taken out of circulation, including 1,100 illegal guns and 4,500 handguns taken out of communities and off our streets.

We will continue to fight for victims on all these fronts and more, working with New Jersey's strong community of victim advocates, law enforcement, the faith-based community and elected officials.

JEFFREY S. CHIESA

N.J. Attorney General

Trenton

Health care demands

expanded APN role

Regarding the April 28 letter from Raymond J. Saputelli, executive vice president of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, "Nurses cannot perform the duties of physicians":

Saputelli, who is neither a physician nor an advanced-practice nurse, objects to legislation that would allow nurse practitioners to provide health care services and prescribe medications without collaborating with a physician. Ironically, the same day that I read his letter, I looked through my current AARP magazine and discovered a ringing endorsement for care provided by nurse practitioners.

In New Jersey, nurse practitioners make up the majority of APNs; nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists make up the rest. Some work in primary care, and others work in acute-care institutions.

Now the APNs are seeking to lift an archaic collaborative agreement that was forged between nursing and physician groups many decades ago when APNs gained prescriptive privileges. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have already lifted this restriction, and many physician societies in other states have endorsed similar legislation.

By 2014, it is estimated that 75 percent of all physicians will be working for hospitals. At the same time, fewer than 8 percent of all physicians are in family practice across the United States.

Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act promises to add 32 million Americans to the rolls of the insured, and more than 37 percent of practicing physicians are nearing retirement, while millions of baby boomers are entering the decades when they need the most care. It becomes more urgent in this context to lift these archaic restrictions on APN practice.

Saputelli has done the legislators and the people of New Jersey a disservice by his fear-mongering.

REBECCA A. SMITH

Buena Vista Township

NRA's only 'expertise'

is threatening lawmakers

I disagree with the April 18 letter, "NRA has expertise to advise lawmakers."

The National Rifle Association's expertise is to threaten lawmakers with its "grading system," so if they disagree in any way with the NRA, its wrath will be upon them. The lawmakers without a spine will lose any support and money from the NRA.

For the lawmakers and the NRA hierarchy not to support additional background checks is a joke.

TOM YARBOROUGH

Hammonton

Atlantic City officer

did great job at accident

Recently I was involved in an automobile accident. No one was hurt, thank God - and the Atlantic City police officer who took the call handled the situation with such dignity and aplomb that I was astounded.

Officer Charles Heintz's demeanor was cool and controlled. He asked questions in such a subtle manner that they sounded more like requests. He treated me with dignity and kept saying, "Be cool and calm, and I will handle everything."

The other party involved in the accident had very little damage done to his car, but he was overexcited and exaggerating. Heintz assured him that I was fully cooperating and there was no need for excited incredulity.

Officers like Heintz are a rarity and should be recognized.

EDSEL COATES

Atlantic City

This caring family

made senior's day

I was recently in the Acme in Seaville with my daughter. While taking a cart and putting my cane in it, I smiled at a young mother with three small children. The mother was very attentive to them all and told them to stay together.

I put my cane into the cart. I get around fairly well for someone who will be 90 in eight months. My daughter finished her shopping, and as we were ready to leave I heard, "Miss, you left your cane in the cart."

I said, "Oh, thank you," and felt in my pocket for a dollar bill. As I offered it to the boy closest to me, he gave me a hug. He was so nice and sweet. This lovely family made my day. I don't know their names, but may God bless them all.

LILLIAN FITZPATRICK

Seaville

Obama has opportunity

to promote families

Regarding the April 19 letter, "Family life changed, but there's no going back":

I can't accept the writer's go-with-the-flow approach about the transformation of the American family since the 1950s, and I was encouraged when on Feb. 15 the president publicly expressed concern over the breakdown of the traditional family. He called for intensified efforts to promote healthier families by removing financial disincentives to marriage and reforming child-support laws in the hope that children will grow up in stable homes with responsible fathers.

Second-term presidents can espouse issues they favor without concern over getting re-elected. Promoting healthier families involving commitment and responsibility for raising and nurturing children to grow into responsible adults would fall into this category. The president can now actively promote this need, which would be of great societal and financial benefit to our country.

FRED LAURENZO

Little Egg Harbor Township