As the United States addresses the urgent crisis of mass criminalization and incarceration, there is a clear need to find viable, effective alternatives, particularly at the front end by preventing people from entering the criminal justice system unnecessarily.
This task requires assessing government’s current response to safety, disorder, and health-related problems; critically re-examining the role that police officers are asked to play in our communities; and developing alternative-system responses independent of the justice system, while finding ways to improve relationships between the police and those they serve. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)® is a response to these gaps. LEAD uses police diversion and community-based, trauma-informed care systems, with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing law violations by people who participate in the program.
What is the LEAD National Support Bureau?
The LEAD® National Support Bureau responds to the national demand for strategic guidance and technical support to local jurisdictions developing Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)® programs.
A number of jurisdictions across the country have followed Seattle by replicating the transformative LEAD initiative. To date these jurisdictions include; Santa Fe, NM, Albany, NY, Fayetteville, NC, Portland, OR, Huntington, WV, Charleston, WV and Baltimore, MD. Recently, California and Colorado included funding in their state budgets to support the implementation of LEAD. Dozens of other jurisdictions are exploring and developing LEAD programs and are reflected on the site map.
The Bureau is led and staffed by members of a team of public health and justice system veterans who designed the original Seattle LEAD program, and others who have now launched LEAD in other jurisdictions. The Bureau also draws on the expertise of prosecutors, police, case managers and community public safety leaders who are now using LEAD on the ground, and are willing to share lessons learned with their peers around the country.
In July 2015, the White House hosted a National Convening on LEAD with interested delegations from nearly 30 jurisdictions including district attorneys, police chiefs, city council members, community police reform advocates, state legislators, and human service providers.
LEAD is now listed by the National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov as a promising practice. The Arnold Foundation evaluation, if replicated in other jurisdictions, meets the Office of Justice Programs’ standard for an evidence-based practice. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is making technical assistance grants to assist jurisdictions replicating LEAD nationally.
Apply here: www.bjatraining.org and click on "request training and technical assistance."
The LEAD® National Support Bureau gratefully acknowledges the many partners in designing, implementing and funding LEAD in Seattle and around the country, including visionary leaders among police, prosecutors, civil rights advocates, public safety groups, human services providers, political leaders, researchers and funders. The insights and counsel we may be able to offer derive heavily from their thinking and efforts. Any errors or omissions in the work of the Bureau are our own.
The following list of Bureau Partners is in formation. If you would like to be listed as a Bureau partner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law Enforcement & Government Partners
City of Albany, New York - Mayor’s Office
Albany County Probation
Albany County Department of Health
National and State-based Organizations and
Racial Justice Action Center
Bureau Certified LEAD Sites
Political partners and funders supporting a LEAD® approach often want some assurance that the strategy is likely to be effective and deliver the hoped-for outcomes for individuals and communities. To that end, the Bureau can provide a range of support and assessment services to determine whether a local LEAD effort is being operated or developed in accordance with the core principles that led to LEAD's success in Seattle and in jurisdictions that have adapted LEAD to their own circumstances subsequently.
Bureau-certified LEAD® programs presently include:
Santa Fe, NM
If your jurisdiction is interested in assessment and possible certification of a developing or implemented LEAD® program, please contact email@example.com.