Representatives of the City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Health Department, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and Greater Rochester Health Foundation and the home office of the nationwide Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative offered their congratulations and support to the City of Batavia Fire Department on becoming the first fire agency in New York State to participate in the program.
Allie Hunter, executive director of PAARI, was the keynote speaker, traveling from her Boston area office to the Batavia FD headquarters to address about 45 people in attendance at the kickoff event (which was planned for last spring but canceled due to COVID-19).
Other speakers were Batavia PD Assistant Chief Chris Camp, Public Health Director Paul Pettit, GCASA Executive Director John Bennett, GCASA Peer Recovery Coach Melissa Vinyard and GRHF Senior Program Officer Monica Brown.
Vinyard gave a moving testimony of her road back from addiction to become someone who now supports others seeking help.
Greg Ireland, Batavia FD captain, provided the welcome while Christen Ferraro, coordinator of the GOW Opioid Task Force, a driver of the program, delivered closing remarks.
Known locally as Public Safety Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative, due to the fire department’s involvement, the program provides support and resources to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.
The video created by Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, captures the full scope of PAARI – its origins, mission, outreach and impact it has had upon the lives of those struggling with substance use disorders and in need of recovery.