Community Connection

Gowanda Police Dept Community Committment Letter

Community Connections members pool resources for a healthier Gowanda

“We want to be proactive, not reactive” that is Officer-in-Charge Steve Raiport’s motto that he brought to the table when he and Mayor Heather McKeever first planned for a community coalition to help combat the drug problem we are facing within our village. “We wanted to bring together people from different organizations that could deal with the drug problem we have here”, Steve Raiport said. ” We’re still going to do what we have to do as far as enforcement goes, but we want to be able to help in other ways too-arrests can’t be the only way to deal with this. We want to be able to help people who need help and who ask for it.” With the mayor Heather McKeever and Officer-in-Charge Steve Raiport sharing similiar concerns for the residents, they decided to get the resources together under one roof.

Community Connection had their first meeting on October 24th. The following were in attendance: Officer-in-Charge Steve Raiport, Mayor Heather McKever, Sara Reid-Chemical dependency counselor at Lake Shore Behavioral Health and program supervisor for Healthy Community Alliance, Stacey Raiport-Gowanda Police Clerk, Jennifer Gernatt- a concerned parent, Linda Fonti-Zoar Valley Treament and Resource Center program manager, Beth Girardi-school counselor, Tom Povhe-Neighborhood Watch Program, JoEllen Stender-Lake Shore Behavioral Health, North Collins program director.

We are focusing on prevention and education , helping families who are in crisis. As per Heather McKeever “this new coalition is not just about helping people who need it, but giving those who want to help a way to do so.”

We are planning to continue to work to make Gowanda a healthier community.