LEAD Program

Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion

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What is LEAD?

Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a community-based diversion approach with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing unecessary justice system involvement of people who participate in the program.

CONNECT is working with local mayors, council members, managers, police chiefs, first responders, people who use drugs, people in recovery, advocates, and case workers to explore what LEAD could look like in Allegheny County.

Learn more on the national LEAD website

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.

Learn More

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