LEAD Program

Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion

Interested in more information? Sign up for updates

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.

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.

Check out the National LEAD website for more information on the LEAD model. 

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.

LEAD for Community Members

Please fill out the linked Google Form if you would like to receive updates about pre-arrest diversion efforts and opportunities to participate in info sessions, education series, focus groups, and Community Leadership Teams. Learn more about Community Leadership Teams from the Pre-Arrest Diversion Summit discussion available on YouTube. 

LEAD for Municipalities

Is your community located in Allegheny County? Are you interested in LEAD? Congratulations! That’s all it takes to participate. Click here to view the Municipal Roadmap - a tool for community leaders (local elected officials, municipal managers, police chiefs, etc.) to guide them in developing a LEAD program. All communities in Allegheny County are eligible to receive technical assistance to explore LEAD. 

Learn More

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