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Behavioral Health Services

Bernalillo County & City of Albuquerque Announce Expansion of New Program: LEAD – Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion

08/15/2019
11:16 AM

Bernalillo County, NM- Today the City of Albuquerque and APD announced the launch of APD’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program [LEAD]. County LEAD is a collaborative effort between the Bernalillo County’s Department of Behavioral Health Services, the Sheriff’s Office, the City of Albuquerque, APD, Bernalillo County District Attorney, the Law Offices of the Public Defender, and individuals with lived experiences.

Starting today, APD will have the ability to divert individuals who commit low-level drug offenses or low-level property crimes commissioned in order to get drugs, prostitution, or engage in activities such as trespassing, loitering and vagrancy. If the LEAD-trained officer believes the individual is an addict and/or has mental health challenges, is amenable to treatment, and at the discretion of the officer, the individual will be referred to a LEAD Case Manager who then consults with the DA’s office to gain approval for the diversion.

“We are proud to be a part of the solution and work to divert appropriate clients away from the criminal justice system, toward treatment. APD is working diligently to bring community policing solutions such as LEAD and MCT to the residents that need it most,” said Deputy Chief Eric Garcia.

APD will begin LEAD with its Problem Response Team in the south east area command in order to address a significant need in the area. This team has received specialized training in both enhanced crisis intervention training and LEAD for law enforcement in order to truly understand and implement the LEAD model.

The program has received multiple referrals, to date, and is expected to increase the number with both law enforcement agencies now making diversions. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office intends to train all of its officers and Albuquerque Police Department will start with the SE Heights Area Problem Response Team and eventually increase to different teams.

This program will allow law enforcement and the criminal justice system to focus their attention on more complicated cases and serious offenders. Evaluations of LEAD programs in Santa Fe and Seattle have demonstrated that they improve outcomes for individuals, reduce crime, and save money.

These LEAD referrals will be connected by their case manager to other Behavioral Health Initiative services such a detox and supportive housing when appropriate. The Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services is proud to work closely with both APD and BCSO to provide LEAD in the community.

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