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For Immediate Release:                                                                                                     

July 23, 2020


Contact: Executive Director Allie Hunter                                       

P.A.A.R.I./South Portland Police Department 

Phone: 508-212-9831 





P.A.A.R.I. Announces Expansion of Recovery Corps Program


Applications Open for AmeriCorps VISTA Members to Address Opioid Epidemic in 8 States


BOSTON — Co-Founder and Chairman of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) John Rosenthal and Executive Director Allie Hunter are pleased to announce that P.A.A.R.I.’s National Recovery Corps is more than doubling in size for its 2020-2021 program year.


“During these challenging times, P.A.A.R.I.’s mission is more relevant and critical than ever, and this revolutionary program will add significant capacity to our law enforcement partners as they address their community’s needs,” Hunter said. “Since our Recovery Corps program launched in 2017, we have seen tremendous results, and we are thrilled and grateful to expand the program for our 2020-2021 program year.”


P.A.A.R.I. launched the Recovery Corps Program in partnership with AmeriCorps in fall 2017 in Massachusetts. Since then, the program has expanded to several states nationwide. The program embeds AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members in police departments and law enforcement agencies to address the opioid epidemic with the goal of building, strengthening and sustaining police-led programs to reduce and prevent overdose deaths and help more people with opioid use disorder get into treatment and recovery. 


This year, P.A.A.R.I has been awarded a $1.16 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service, to grow the program from 17 full-time equivalents to 40 members for its 2020-2021 session.


“The opioid epidemic has left an indelible scar in communities across America. Addressing this crisis will take an all-hands-on-deck effort and everyone has a role to play,” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program. “I’m proud that through this new partnership with P.A.A.R.I., AmeriCorps VISTA members can be a part of the solution.”


The grant will fund 40 full-time positions, including 29 positions to be based in the awarded law enforcement host sites in eight states.


P.A.A.R.I. has selected the following law enforcement agencies to host Recovery Corps members to assist with program development and capacity building:


  • Douglas Police Department and Cochise County Agencies (Arizona)
  • Longmont Department of Public Safety (Colorado)
  • Waterville Police Department (Maine)
  • South Portland Police Department (Maine)
  • Scarborough Police Department (Maine)
  • Hingham Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • New Bedford Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Department (Massachusetts)
  • Ipswich Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Lynn Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Boston Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Newburyport Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Lawrence Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Edgartown Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Winthrop Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Plymouth County Outreach/ Plymouth Police Department (Massachusetts)
  • Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley/ Tri-County and Community Partnership (New York)
  • Hope Not Handcuffs/ Saginaw City Police Department (Michigan)
  • Hope Not Handcuffs/ Macomb Police Department (Michigan)
  • Charleston Police Department (South Carolina)
  • Georgetown Police Department (Kentucky)


The 2020-2021 program year is set to launch this August.


“It’s a great day for the City of South Portland because of the kindness and generosity of Chairman Rosenthal and Director Hunter, and we look forward to working with our P.A.A.R.I. Recovery Corps VISTA to perform a needs assessment, expand and strengthen partnerships with treatment and service providers, develop a treatment and service provider database, and collect and evaluate community data,” South Portland Police Chief Timothy Sheehan said. “Together we will surely make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable populations we serve.”


“The Longmont Department of Public Safety is honored to continue our partnership with P.A.A.R.I. and the National Recovery Corps program,” said Michelle Webb, Public Safety Diversion Programs manager for the City of Longmont, Colorado’s Public Safety Department/ Community Health and Resilience. “Our collaboration with P.A.A.R.I. through our Angel Initiative has enabled us to serve over 230 community members seeking treatment. We are grateful for the opportunities that our second year as a host site will present as we continue building our program’s capacity and also work to bridge a long-time, notable system gap in our community. The impacts to date have been invaluable and we look forward to what we will accomplish together in the upcoming year.”


The grant also funds the expansion of P.A.A.R.I.’s National Support Team and will include 11 full-time VISTA members based in seven regions and out of P.A.A.R.I.’s office based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


One VISTA member and two VISTA leaders will be based in P.A.A.R.I.’s office in Plymouth, Massachusetts to focus on resource development as well as recruiting, training and supporting the team of P.A.A.R.I. National Recovery Corps members.


P.A.A.R.I. is also launching a National Police Outreach Team with seven regional Police Outreach VISTA members to be spread across the country to help recruit and train new law enforcement partners.


“The partnership with P.A.A.R.I. has been incredibly valuable to the Boston Police Department and City of Boston. Especially amid COVID-19, the P.A.A.R.I. Recovery Corps members embedded with our department have been instrumental in providing vulnerable Boston residents with support and connections to treatment and services related to homelessness and substance use disorder,” said Sgt. Peter Messina of the Boston Police Department’s Street Outreach Unit. “We are grateful to continue with the program for another year.”


“It has been a great experience working with the P.A.A.R.I. initiative. They have been supportive financially and provide valuable information that has allowed us to grow and service our community,” said Families Against Narcotics Executive Director Linda Davis of Hope Not Handcuffs Michigan. “Working together and breaking down the silos that exist in the world of substance use disorder is the answer to really address the issue. P.A.A.R.I. is the champion of partnerships and creates an environment of working together. We look forward to another rewarding year of working together to create safer, healthier communities.”


P.A.A.R.I. is now accepting applications for 38 full-time positions, with start dates in August and November 2020. Individuals with lived experience with addiction, including those who are personally in recovery, are encouraged to apply. Details, including a link to apply for each position, can be found at paariusa/org/recoverycorps.


About P.A.A.R.I.


The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester MA Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, coaching, grants, and other capacity-building resources to nearly 600 police departments in 35 states. We currently work with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. P.A.A.R.I. and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. Our programs and partners have saved thousands of lives, changed police culture, reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic and have placed over 25,000 people into treatment since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at