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Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program – Baltimore City

The Baltimore City Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD), a new pilot program, aims to keep individuals with behavioral health conditions outside of the criminal justice system by equipping law enforcement officers with the ability to immediate divert eligible individuals in need of assistance.

LEAD works closely with the criminal justice system, brought together by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Office of the Public Defender, the University of Maryland Baltimore Police Dept. and the Baltimore City Police Department, in order to find collaborative ways to get individuals help rather than prosecution, thereby reducing recidivism. Police officers are now empowered to help individuals, sustainably addressing the harms associated with drug use while building trust and improving relationships with the community. Referred individuals are immediately connected to an aggressive case management team collocated within the police district. All services are delivered in the harm reduction framework which removes barriers and ensures successful engagement in care.

Previously, drug enforcement officers were trained to arrest those with illegal drugs rather than to offer help. Now, LEAD strives to improve relations between the police and the community by equipping police officers with the tools they need to help save lives; and save costs by reducing recidivism and encouraging members of the community to seek assistance.

Increasingly, police officers are being affected by the heroin and opioid epidemic, which allows them the empathy to offer assistance and be a resource to the community.

Interested in learning more? Contact:
Daniel Atzmon
Program Manager, LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion)
Behavioral Health System Baltimore
100 S. Charles Street, Tower II, 8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201