Broad Array of Community Stakeholders Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Collaborate on Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion – LEAD
Working Group Includes Albany Police Department, District Attorney, Albany Mayor’s Office, County Executive and Departments, Business and Community Leaders, and Health Organizations
Officials and community leaders on Thursday announced that the City and County of Albany, New York, will be developing an innovative program to reduce recidivism while advancing public safety and public health. The program is known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD.
Under LEAD, police officers may exercise their discretion and divert individuals for certain low-level criminal offenses like drug possession; instead of being arrested and going through the regular criminal justice process, the individual is referred to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of social services.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion was launched in 2011 in Seattle. LEAD emerged from a growing consensus that the war on drugs has failed, its associated racial disparities are unacceptable, and there is a need for innovative, effective approaches to reduce the number of people unnecessarily entering the criminal justice system.
Santa Fe became the second jurisdiction to implement the program in 2014. Albany is the first East Coast city and the third city in the nation to begin developing LEAD.