LEAD Program

Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion

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What is LEAD?

LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) is a systems-change initiative that uses both collective governance and new approaches to direct service. The goal is to reduce policies and practices that disproportionately criminalize low-income people and people of color with unmet behavioral health needs, problematic substance use, and homelessness. 

CONNECT is working with people with lived experience, community members, advocates, elected officials, local municipal governments, law enforcement, magistrates, first responders, and service providers to explore what LEAD could look like in Allegheny County.

Thanks to everyone who attened the CONNECT 2021 Pre-Arrest Diversion Summit on June 8th and June 15th. You can find a recap of the summit here:  https://www.connectsummit2021.com/recap 

Check out the National LEAD website for more info on the LEAD model

Read CONNECT's LEAD Info Sheet

Facts about LEAD from LEAD's birthplace in Seattle, WA

  • Since LEAD's origin in 2011, those who participated in LEAD have been 58% less likely to be arrested within 6 months of the program than people in the control group.
  • On average, criminal justice and legal system utilization costs $5,961 per person. LEAD participants had a $2,100 reduction in these costs
  • Half of the participants who originally described their interactions with police as negative had positive views of police after LEAD involvement.

Things to know about LEAD

  • LEAD is completely voluntary and happens at the pace of the individual participating.
  • In other cities, this program has been shown to pay for itself in the long run by decreasing court costs and crime. Thanks to collaboration among various stakeholders, Allegheny County has been awarded funding to cover start-up costs and most programmatic expenses for the first three years.
  • As a tool for police to divert instead of arrest, LEAD is likely to lead to lower burnout in police officers.

Allegheny County LEAD Research to Action Report

With generous and proactive funding from the Staunton Farm Foundation and the Heinz Endowments, representatives from CONNECT and the Allegheny County Health Department conducted preliminary research on developing a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and understanding municipal perspectives of LEAD in Allegheny County.

Read the full report

Download the LEAD Convening PPT

Roadmap for Municipalities

Is your community located in Allegheny County? Are you interested in LEAD? Congratulations! That’s all it takes to participate at Stage 1.

Stage 1: Exploration
Stage 2: Building community support
Stage 3: Developing
Stage 4: Implementing

View the full Municipal Roadmap - the steps to implement the program with CONNECT.

Passed Municipal Resolutions

Etna Borough 

Shaler Township

Millvale Borough

McKees Rocks Borough

Forest Hills Borough

Churchill Borough

Braddock Hills Borough 

Swissvale Borough 

Wilkins Township 

Aspinwall Borough

Sharpsburg Borough

Learn More

We would love to speak with you about LEAD. Please call or email Program Director JoEllen Marsh with any questions.