LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) caseworker Tim Candela, right, attends a LEAD meeting at the SPD West Precinct
In recent weeks, East Precinct officers have been trained to participate in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. LEAD now joins the already functioning Multi-Disciplinary Team program on Capitol Hill in giving law enforcement new options and resources for dealing with addiction. Officials are looking at ways the two programs can work together.
According to Public Defender Association director Lisa Daugaard, all East Precinct police officers will be trained to participate in LEAD by the end of the month. Until now only West Precinct officers have been able to recommend people for LEAD participation. There was initial talk of only expanding the program to Capitol Hill, but “Capitol Hill community leaders actually pushed for inclusion of the rest of the precinct on racial justice grounds,” because, according to Daugaard, community leaders felt that parts of the East Precinct with a higher percentage of minorities than Capitol Hill should also benefit from the program. Daugaard said she anticipates that once East Precinct officers have been trained, “there will probably be significantly more referrals” for the LEAD program.
Mayor Ed Murray announced the planned expansion of the MDT and LEAD programs to Capitol Hill in fall 2015. MDT was expanded to Capitol Hill in January, and Metropolitan Improvement District vice president Dave Willard said so far results have been “pretty encouraging.” Outreach workers for MDT joined East Precinct officers on patrols, and now those officers are being trained to do some outreach of their own.
Visit the LEAD website