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PASS hosted safety training for first responders


Late last year, Pike Autism Support Services (PASS) hosted the Autism Shield Law Enforcement & First Responder Training at the Pike County Training Center in Hawley, where Gary Weitzen from POACinformed attendees about informed area first responders about working with persons of the special needs community. Photo contributed.

PIKE COUNTY - Late last year, Pike Autism Support Services (PASS) hosted the Autism Shield Law Enforcement & First Responder Training at the Pike County Training Center in Hawley.

PASS has served the autism and special needs community for over 25 years and was able to present the well-attended, three-hour training because of a grant from the Greater Pike Community Foundation.

Presenter Gary Weitzen from POAC, an autism service organization from south New Jersey, gave “an engaging and informative presentation” said PASS Executive Director Jeannemarie Passaro.

According to Passaro, individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities are seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than the general population. Without training and awareness of this condition, “tragic consequences often ensue when affected individuals come in contact with first responders.”

Passaro said the primary goal of the training was to enhance officer, first responder and citizen safety. PASS would like to thank all who attended, especially Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike Co. Probation, Delaware Valley Emergency Services, the Port Jervis Police Dept. and the many Volunteer Fire Companies & EMT’s that support Pike County. PASS extends a sincere thank to the public for their attendance and participation.

As of now, PASS hopes to host future, in-person training, but the pandemic has put a halt to any immediate plans. But, ZOOM training is still happening; for information visit http://passnepa.org/.


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