Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a pre-booking diversion pilot program developed with the community to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle and the Skyway area of unincorporated King County. The program allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services, instead of jail and prosecution. By diverting eligible individuals to services, LEAD is committed to improving public safety and public order, and reducing the criminal behavior of people who participate in the program.

LEAD Press Conference - October 13, 2011

Seattle Times - Sara Jean Green: Lead program turns drug bust into help, not jail

Seattle's groundbreaking LEAD program diverts low-level drug dealers and users away from the criminal-justice system. At the police officer's discretion, some of those arrested are referred to social workers for immediate help — a hot meal, a safe place to sleep — and longer-term services such as drug treatment and job training.

Belltown PI - 55 drug offenders and prostitutes chose treatment over jail through Belltown’s LEAD program

According to LEAD officials, 55 Belltown drug offenders and prostitutes chose to seek help getting off the streets rather than go to jail.

KING 5 - Skyway new case study for alternative drug enforcement program

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Tuesday the “pocket neighborhood” of Skyway is about to become a case study for a new policing policy.

LEAD discussed in new Justice Policy Institute report titled: "Rethinking the Blues: How We Police in the U.S. and at What Cost."

LEAD is listed as a community-supported policing program that has had promising public safety results. The report can be downloaded at the Justice Policy Institute's website.

Press Release: LEAD Launches in Belltown

A unique coalition of government officials, law enforcement agencies, and community groups are backing the  innovative new LEAD program. Instead of arresting and prosecuting low-level drug offenders, law enforcement will divert them to community-based treatment and support services – a welcome alternative to the War on Drugs approach. 

Seattle Times - Sara Jean Green: Seattle program aims to break the habit of incarceration

The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is a local experiment aimed at breaking the cycle of arrest and incarceration for low-level drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes. Completely funded by private foundations, the $950,000-a-year, four-year pilot program offers hand-picked participants individualized alternatives to arrest, from inpatient drug treatment and educational opportunities to housing assistance.

Seattle Times - Jerry Large: Drug program a good alternative to lockup

Some smart people in King County are experimenting with breaking old, ineffective strategies in search of solutions to drug-related crime. They've started a program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD).

NPR News: Treatment, Not Jail, For Low Level Drug Crimes

A pilot program in Seattle, Wash., and surrounding King County allows some low-level drug offenders to go to rehabilitation programs instead of prison. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with King County's sheriff, a public defender and a member of the Seattle police department about the bi-partisan plan.

King County TV: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion

See how an innovative new partnership is working to clean up drug traffic in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood.